Fountain Square's Rooftop Fruit has refill bar for sustainable shopping – IndyStar

Fountain Square's Rooftop Fruit has refill bar for sustainable shopping – IndyStar yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

There’s something for everyone in Rooftop Fruit, Jessie Eskew’s colorful, quirky general store in Fountain Square. At least, there’s something for every vaguely crunchy, trend-focused Gen-Z or millennial shopper.
“You can get a sex toy and laundry detergent,” said Eskew, 36, laughing.
But while the funky candles, colorful tote bags and beautifully packaged skin care products catch the eye — all ethically and sustainably made and sourced — the store’s most unique offering can be found all the way in the back.
It’s the Refill Bar, a collection of bulk containers of toiletries and cleaning supplies. Customers can bring their own containers to fill with products such as shampoo and laundry detergent, reducing plastic waste and reusing the containers over and over again. Many of the products come from Common Goods, a Brooklyn-based company that has been in the refill industry for more than a decade.
Customers bring or purchase their own containers, which can be anything from an empty Dawn dish soap bottle to a mason jar. Eskew will weigh the empty vessel, fill it with product herself (for sanitary reasons) and weigh it again to see how many ounces it holds.
Rooftop Fruit’s refill bar offers Eskew a chance to fight back against climate change with a very local solution for what she sees as a wide-scale problem.
“If I can’t convince a corporation to stop dumping chemicals, maybe I can convince our customers to start buying products from companies that aren’t doing that,” she said. “Instead of like going after those companies, I’m trying to create a different solution and provide that solution to the people who want it.”
Rooftop Fruit, while unique in Indianapolis, reflects a national movement towards reducing plastic waste in shopping. Eskew was inspired to start the store after visiting a Brooklyn store with a similar concept.
Plastic waste is a concern. According to the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, plastic production across the world more than doubled from 2000 to 2019. About 40% of plastic waste globally comes from packaging and 12% from consumer goods.
Concern about that waste has led Eskew and entrepreneurs across the country to step up and offer customers an alternative to using plastic over and over again.
“It’s hard work but it’s something I’ve been passionate about since college,” Eskew said. “I’ve been trying to find ways to be sustainable in my life and this has been the biggest, most widespread.”
While Eskew’s refill bar is the only one of its kind in the city, it’s not a completely new concept for Indianapolis. Grocery stores like Good Earth Natural Foods Co. in Broad Ripple and Georgetown Natural Market on the west side offer customers the option to bring their own containers for their bulk goods.
Good Earth, which opened in 1971, has offered bulk shopping from the start.
“It’s definitely worth giving a try,” said Kate Van Wyck, Good Earth associate, “especially if you’re looking to decrease your footprint a bit or even just think outside the box as far as how much you consume.”
Rooftop Fruit customers appreciate the chance to minimize their plastic waste.On a sunny cold Tuesday afternoon Ethan Records popped into the store to refill on body wash. He said he’s been using the refill bar for everything from laundry detergent to shampoo and conditioner for almost two years.
“Seeing business, like minimizing their carbon footprint, their plastic contributions is really cool to see,” Records said. “I want to support that as much as I can as an individual.”
Eskew’s vision of sustainability is this: If you can do something, do what you can. That might mean trying one new sustainable product — you can buy enough laundry detergent for just one load — or replacing all your products and composting the plastic waste.
If enough people make tiny switches, she said, big companies may start to take notice and offer more sustinable products and choices.
“The more people that do it, and the more people you convince to do it, like the bigger impact you’re gonna have,” she said. “Rather than just b—-ing about it on Facebook, if you actually go out there and do these things, to make those changes, it actually can have an impact.”
Got a business story? Contact Claire Rafford at 317-617-3402 or email crafford@gannett.com.


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