Rachel Krupa is on a mission to create a new kind of convenience store. The Los Angeles publicist, who works with some of the city's most popular restaurants (Sweetfin Poke, the soon-to-open Milkbar, Botanica), just opened the Goods Mart, a convenience store in Silver Lake.
The storefront, located on Sunset Boulevard just down the street from Night + Market Song, is hard to miss. It features artwork from the street artist Love Berto, with red, blue, black and white lines zigzagging along the exterior of the building.
"Silver Lake is my neighborhood and it felt as though we needed something like this," said Krupa, who grew up going to a Sunoco gas station convenience store in rural Michigan. "We have a lot of amazing coffee shops and restaurants but we don't have one of those corner store, neighborhood bodegas."
The 900-square-foot space features products that contain no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, growth hormones, hormone disruptors, nitrates, antibiotics, harmful pesticides and GMOs. Krupa also tried to reduce the use of plastics and offer organic cottons. She has banned single-serve plastic bottles as well. Just think of the store as the anti-7-Eleven.
Krupa carries more than 300 products in the store, including drinks, snacks, cleaning supplies and paper goods, and says she made an effort to test all of them, including a granola made with fruit pulp to help reduce waste and Crack Nuts made with local sprouted almonds.
"I had friends and family try chips, popcorn, beverages, ramen, so that we could find better-for-you options," said Krupa, who also owns her own PR firm called Krupa Consulting. "When stuff has no artificial things in it there is a stigma that it doesn't taste good. I wanted to make sure everything in the store tasted good. If you like Starburst, we have a better-for-you version."
The store carries pretzels, cheese puffs, candy and even a version of slushes, only the slushes at the Goods Mart are organic, made by Kelvin Slush Co., and come in paper cups. To mitigate the cost of the more socially conscious, higher-end products for customers, Krupa tried to work with local brands to offer variations on items at an affordable cost. The Goods Mart serves an 8-ounce drip coffee made by La Colombe for $1.25. The store will also sell "ugly" organic fruits and vegetables through Grubmarket, and carry Barnana products, which are made using cosmetically challenged bananas.
Local company Banh Oui, which pops up at the Smorgasburg Sunday market, will supply the shop with sandwiches, pickles and some packaged products, while Bakers Kneaded (a local wholesale panaderia) is making pastries for the shop. Other local partners include Sunny Blue, Positive Food, Art of Tea and Sosia Flora, which will be providing flowers).
To the left of the mart, local landscape architect Terremoto has planted a small garden area featuring seating made using re-purposed plastic buckets.
Krupa partnered with the nonprofit Lunch on Me to donate food within 24 hours of the expiration date to skid row.
And when you pay for your slushes and snacks, you'll notice an option to leave a tip. Rather than going to the store employees, the tip will be a way to leave money for local charities that Krupa plans to rotate each quarter.
Krupa says she'd like to open more Goods Mart stores in Los Angeles, and eventually nationwide.
"The goal is to have something easy and convenient for people," said Krupa. "It's really a place for the community to get to know each other, have a snack, read the paper and have a conversation."
The store is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 3140 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, www.thegoodsmart.com.