Being “green” promotes community sustainability. Smart businesses know that in addition to ensuring a thriving local economy, adopting environmentally friendly practices helps save money and builds customer pride.
Two of the City of Ventura’s newest Green Certified Businesses, RetailTherapy and Roesling, Nakamura, Terada (RNT) Architects, are proud to employ a sustainable philosophy that is actually an extension of their staff and owner’s personal beliefs.
“Becoming a green certified business was important to us because who we are,” said Matthew Rothman, co-owner of RetailTherapy, an innovative, hip, stylish and therapeutic clothing boutique located in downtown Ventura. “To be able to bring that mindset into our retail space, and then be recognized by the state for it, is just wonderful. It not only attracts like-minded people to visit the shop, it encourages the community.”
Rothman’s business partner, Dr. Janessa Nye, runs her other business, a successful psychotherapist practice, out of the same location in a private area located just adjacent to the shopping area.
“When the lease for the business that was formerly in this space expired,” said Nye, “I decided to go for it and work with Matthew to open a ‘therapeutic clothing boutique for men and women.’ I’ve always been involved with fashion, and I feel RetailTherapy, is a just natural extension of that passion.”
“Shopping or ‘retail therapy’,” continues Nye, “is what we sometimes like to do when we’re stressed out and want to unplug. In this shop, we enjoy offering and styling our customers with beautiful clothing in an environment that is one of peace, tranquility and that just makes them feel good.”
“We have a sitting area with a plush couch where customers can sit and gather, we have some great books, an eclectic collection of art, a tea bar, and fantastic music. It was our aim to make it as comfortable and inviting as possible,” adds Rothman.
When it comes to being green, both owners explain that the product displays at the shop are made from recycled materials that were either “finds” at thrift stores and/or repurposed articles from yard sales and even their own homes.
“We make it a point to sell brands that are eco-conscious, organic and made in the U.S.,” said Nye. “When our customers purchase items, if they don’t bring their own tote, we encourage them either to one of ours, or just carry their items out. We specifically avoid packing things in bags that will ultimately hurt the environment by ending up in a landfill.”
When it came to becoming a certified business, RetailTherapy was already in sync with many of the items on the green business certification checklist. However, Rothman and Nye mentioned that they had to install aerators on the shop’s sinks as well as change out some of the lighting to LED.
8 N. Fir Street
Ventura, Ca 93001
Roesling, Nakamura, Terada (RNT) Architects
Roesling, Nakamura, Terada Architects, also known as RNT Architects, is an award-winning architectural firm that has been involved with designing many educational, non-profit, retail/commercial and residential housing buildings. Their company’s mission statement incorporates a pursuit of the highest quality of work and a passion for excellence in their quest to create meaningful environments. They also have a passion for practicing sustainable practices in the workplace.
“Being sustainable has helped us through a pretty rough economic time,” said Debra Walters, RNT New Business Development Manager. “By staying true to our own values, we’ve been able to survive. For that reason, it was very important for us to become a green certified business because. It’s just who we are and what we do in our business.”
Part of RNT’s mission statement incorporates “creating meaningful environments.” To that end, when designing a master plan, RNT considers a building’s location, potential efficiency using natural and available resources and an environment that promotes good health.
“A site is evaluated based on the incoming airflow and natural lighting,” said Walters. “We see our job as reducing the mechanisms that are required for a building to function by using the natural environment.”
“For example,” continues Walters, “in remodeling the Oxnard Civic Center, we reused part of the old library. Instead of disposing of the used materials, we recycled them into the new structure.”
Walters, who also oversees RNT’s marketing department, says that she’s cut back on pre-printed materials and now only print according to what the company needs, when they need it.
“Another example of using what’s available is when you come into our office,” says Tyson Cline, AIA and RNT’s Ventura Office Director. “The first thing that you’ll probably notice is that we have a lot of natural light coming in through the windows. The next thing you’ll see is that our office is minimally furnished with attractive, but recycled or repurposed furniture. Part of our specialty is being able to find the dual purpose in furniture and materials.”
“We use a computer program to model the way a building utilizes energy. We also look at how all materials we use are extracted and what does into the process of making them. Materials we use for buildings in the desert vary greatly from what we use at the beach. What we do is all about understanding what works best for a given environment.”
For RNT, complying for green business certification was easy, as they had many green practices already in place. “One of the things we’ve recently changed is the way we work with our marketing materials,” said Walters. “We only print what we need, when we need it. We’re also big separating out trash and recycling. The lunch scraps go home for compost.”
“All our lighting is LED,” adds Cline. “We also only look to employ staff and consultants who are ‘sustainability-minded’ and in line with our goals and values.
285 North Ventura Ave. Suite 102 Ventura, CA. 93001 P 805.626.5330
For more information on green business certification, visit: http://www.cityofventura.net/bizrecycle
To set an appointment to become a green certified business, contact Courtney Lindberg at: (805) 667-6502 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV