“I’ve always loved nature and the outdoors,” said Cindy Gregory, Owner of downtown Ventura’s Mélange, a pre-owned Furnishings & Décor store and a new City of Ventura Green Certified Business. “My love and respect for the environment began at a very young age. One of my first sustainable efforts was belonging to a group called the ‘litterbugs’. We’d pick up all the trash we’d find lying on the ground in the neighborhood in order to keep it clean and beautiful.”
Today, Cindy has parlayed this practice of picking up and taking on other people’s castoffs as a smart environmentally-minded business where reduce, reuse and recycle play an integral part.
“At Mélange, we recycle everything and reuse what we can,” said Gregory. “Nothing we sell is wholesale. I buy high quality furniture and home décor items from private parties, estate and garage sales, as well as via the internet and by other means.”
Gregory even recycles and reuses the gift wrap and packaging she has accumulated preferring to offer her customers a choice when it comes to packaging their purchases. “I save everything – ribbons, bows, tissue paper, packing bags, gift boxes — you name it. When I do buy, I only buy 100% recyclable papers and products. I always ask customers when it comes to packaging their purchases, “What do you prefer? Recycled bags or new bags? Most people say recycled.”
A sampling of Mélange’s other eco-friendly practices includes the use of a low-flow faucet and toilet in the store bathroom and kitchen, an energy efficient refrigerator, and the installation of energy efficient fluorescent overhead lights throughout the store.
“I hardly ever use the bright fluorescent overhead lighting in the store though,” said Gregory. “I prefer the look of softer lighting created by placing individual lights strategically around the store to create a warm and inviting ambience.”
“At night, with the exception of the kitchen refrigerator, I turn our electrical breakers off so that the only thing running is our outside lighting. Even that lighting is on timers, which turn off around 11pm.
Gregory always recycles trash and waste properly, and while she doesn’t do a lot of copying or printing, when she does print, she only prints double-sided and is committed to using only 100% recycled copy paper.
“In terms of water conservation, we don’t have a landscape,” said Gregory. “However I do have a few potted plants that we water occasionally. We also use water sparingly when we sponge off dusty furniture and other items when we acquire them. In those instances, I put water in a single bucket and sponge down as needed.”
When it comes to cleaning, Gregory thinks green using environmentally friendly, Simple Green or environmentally friendly soaps.
“Becoming a green certified business is important for all businesses. We need to have a sustainable mindset in the workplace and at home,” said Gregory. “We only have one environment, and we all have to do our part to protect and preserve it.”
-Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV
WATCH the Sustainable News Interview with Cindy Gregory:
Mélange, 294 E. Main Street, Ventura, Ca, 93001 (805) 641-1010