By Adriana Añon
Something about the window of ALL ECO always piqued my interest, even before I first set foot in the store. Maybe it was the natural plants suspended from macrame planters, lending it a homey feel. Perhaps the soothing hues of blues and greens in the store logo painted on the wall, or the way the pine shelves with their beautiful knots remind us that wood is a living thing. It is the same comforting atmosphere when you walk into the shop to be welcomed by the owner, Jackie Morphy.
“I love your store,” I heard a customer tell Morphy my first time in the shop. “I’m trying to live more sustainably, so I love everything here.” The young woman was as impressed as I was by the store’s beauty and the variety of options. As Morphy told me later, my feelings were exactly what she envisioned her store would invoke: “A place that offered products that were beautiful, functional and a better choice for the environment.”
ALL ECO at 857B Bank Street carries carefully curated merchandise that is ethically sourced, sustainably made and often local. On its shelves, you’ll find natural products that promote ecological balance. Among the choices are organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-toxic and zero-waste products. Although the storefront is narrow, once inside you realize just how spacious it is in length. It is no exaggeration to say there’s something for everyone here.
You’ll find beauty and self-care products as well as lifestyle goods that range from crafts and kitchenware to cleaning products and yoga accessories. There is also a baby section of clothes and other goods. Gifts abound, including totes, jewellery, food delicacies and candles. As the holidays approach, you’ll find an array of gift options that are sure to delight the lucky recipients. If the environment is important to you, this is a great place to shop.
Morphy’s vision was to bring to the Glebe a shop that would cater to the community’s environmental consciousness. Even now, she notices that “the concept of the store really resonates with the area.” When asked how shopping has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak, she says her customers have gravitated to the refilling station in the back of the store where they can load up on soaps, lotions and detergents. She has observed a surge of awareness, possibly due to the increased use of plastic and other wasteful products during the pandemic. “Having the choice,” Morphy says, “people are opting for the more sustainable options.”
ALL ECO, which opened in October 2019, has yet to experience an entire season of normal retailing. If managing a business is an ambitious undertaking under the best of circumstances, what happens when the unexpected takes over? Of all the possible scenarios that Morphy might have foreseen, COVID-19 and its vastly different demands exceeded all calculations. Morphy credits her 20-year trajectory in the restaurant business with giving her the tools of resourcefulness and tenacity which she’s been putting to use these past few months.
During the shutdown, it meant creating and launching a website, alleco.ca, where customers can make online purchases. As her store continually adds products to its shelves, this website is a constant work in progress. If you can’t find a product online that you’ve seen at the store, call the store at 613-421-7670. There is curbside pickup and home delivery to cater to your needs.
In a year when many long-standing businesses across Canada have been forced to close, Morphy is working hard to keep alive her lifelong dream of running a brick-and-mortar store. She believes in what these establishments do for the community by fostering connections and awareness. She hopes that in a small way at least, she’s making a difference in the world.
ALL ECO succeeds in bringing to the Glebe a beautiful boutique with a uniquely soothing and personal feel. It is the kind of shop that makes strolling this neighbourhood enticing. The shop is open Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Once you visit, you might understand their logo in a whole different way: ALL ECO, It makes sense.
Adriana Añon is a writer, teacher and Glebe enthusiast.