“Businesses have a larger carbon footprint than individuals and homes,” said Diana Russell, Store Manager at Olde Towne Jewelry & Loan, “So as businesses, we have a big responsibility to make sure we’re doing our best to help the community and the world.”
Founded in 1995, Olde Towne Jewelry & Loan, previously located on Chestnut Street, makes its home at 97 S. Oak Street in downtown Ventura. A new City of Ventura Green Certified Business, this community pawn shop helps clients save money on their purchases as well as help the community to reduce, reuse and recycle with the sale of quality used products.
“Everything we take in is used,” said Russell. “We test all items that are brought into the store and make sure they are working correctly before we put them up for sale. So, as a pawnshop, we’re different from a ‘thrift’ store in that respect. Additionally, if you buy a musical instrument from our store and keep the receipt, you can bring it back to us at a later time and we’ll take that instrument and give you the full value of what you paid for the item towards your purchase of another instrument of your choice.”
Olde Towne Jewelry & Loan was founded by Diana’s grandfather, Sheldon Wainer. Seven years ago, Diana, a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America with a degree in Psychology from San Diego State University joined the family business management team and now works as store manager.
The store stepped up their sustainable practices working with City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Courtney Lindberg in order to become green certified.
“We were able to get recycle bins to recycle paper, bottles, plastics and aluminum,” said Russell. “At the end of the year, with all the money we make from turning in our recyclables to the recycling center, we treat the staff to an employee dinner. It’s a win-win for everyone!”
Olde Towne also has a mutually beneficial partnership with the nearby Boys & Girls Club Thrift Store.
“If an item has issues and doesn’t sell for a time,” said Russell, “we donate it to the Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store where it gets repurposed or recycled. Everyone wins when we don’t have to add more items to our crowded landfills.”
Other sustainable practices incorporated at the store include working with SoCal Edison to change out of all their lighting to LED.
“The bathrooms, sinks and toilets,” also are now all low-flow,” said Russell. “A water fountain in the back is used to minimize the use of plastic bottled water, and when we clean, we use the environmentally-friendly products and white vinegar with reusable rags vs. paper towels.”
Russell is also big on green transportation and she and other staffers, whenever possible, enjoy riding their bicycles to work.
“It’s an honor to be a green certified business, it helps with our corporate pride and it provides a valuable service to the community. We love living and working here and we want to do our part to help preserve the sustainability of Ventura.”
Olde Towne Jewelry & Loan, 97 South Oak Street, Ventura, CA 93001
–Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV