koru eco brand
During a precarious time for small retail bricks and mortar stores, Koru Eco Brand's business model takes a different approach to the use of retail space, selling sustainable Home, Beauty, and Fashion Goods while offering educational and recycling programs to the community. Koru Eco

Downtown Cocoa Beach, Florida, now has a one-of-a-kind retail store. Koru Eco Brand opened its' flagship store in the area offering its sustainable swimwear, apparel, accessories, home goods, and other sustainable lifestyle brands. In one of the most precarious times for a retail company to open bricks and mortar, Founder and CEO of Koru Eco Brand, Julie Stine, decided to take advantage of a particular retail space that could also offer to warehouse online shipping and a production area for its products.

In 2012, when the company first entered the market, it was primarily a high-end sustainable swimwear brand called Koru Swimwear. As the company grew, it expanded into eco-friendly apparel and accessories in addition to selling its swimwear. "Our mission to be a sustainable swimwear and apparel brand grew to be more of a lifestyle brand with added beauty and home products, so we decided to rename the company from Koru Swimwear to Koru Eco Brand. It made more sense to do that with the expansion of our products," stated Julie Stine, Koru Swimwear, and Koru Eco Brand Founder and CEO. She continued, "We really feel it's important to incorporate education in our ads and in our store so people can understand the importance of making conscious purchases that have a lighter footprint on our earth. We depend on our earth to provide us with a healthy environment for our survival, so it's important we take care of it."

Koru Eco Brand store offers shoppers eco-friendly products but also has started a partnership with TerraCycle to provide recycling programs to the local community. The first recycling program available is the Brita recycling program, where you can bring your Brita filters and Brita pitchers into the store for recycling and receive a dollar off your purchase for each Brita product brought to the store for recycling. "We plan on expanding our recycling program to other types of recyclables, including Styrofoam and cigarette butts that can be recycled into plastic products. Those are just to name a few," Julie stated.

Stine explains why this time was chosen to open and how the store is navigating during this pandemic. "We understood that opening a physical store during, not only a slow time of the year but in the middle of a pandemic was not what most businesses would gamble on. Our approach was a little different when moving into this space. We felt the retail portion of the business was just icing on the cake. Not only is the location in downtown Cocoa Beach a high foot traffic location, but it's also helping to expose our brand to more people with our signage. The business model was not just to rely on walk-through store sales, it was to be a place to offer the community sustainable education and also a hub for warehousing our products, shipping out online orders, and a place for product production."

She goes on to say how the store is handling in-store patrons during this time, "We do request patrons wear masks in our store and only allow up to six patrons at a time in the store. We also are giving away hand sanitizers to all visiting patrons to help reduce any risks. We are hopeful things will make a big turn in a positive direction for retail and other industries suffering when this virus can be successfully prevented and treated, but only time will tell. Right now, we can all only do our best to help reduce the spread by taking the proper precautions."

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