SHIFT Sustainable Goods + Services creates a hub for low-impact living on the Main Line
The refillery and event space recently opened its full-scale brick & mortar shop in downtown Narberth.
They’d spent months planning and dreaming up the space. But the world went into lockdown three days before Kimberley Bezak and Eleisha Eagle signed a lease on their sustainable storefront in Narberth.
With no choice but to put their plans on hold, the pair took the last two years to recalibrate. SHIFT Sustainable Goods + Services officially opened its doors to the public in June 2022 after a six-month stint as a pop-up in a local grocery store.
Bezak says the pandemic hibernation offered a renewed sense of purpose. “We saw through a different lens what the needs are, and we were able to rewrite our business plan. I think SHIFT 2.0 is definitely much more in tune than the original.”
This version of SHIFT is a one-stop shop for all things zero-waste and low-impact living, incorporating products, events, and resources that center on sustainability. Bezak says Narberth was an obvious choice for the business venture given its reputation as a leader in progressive climate action goals.
SHIFT: A Refillery for Locally Sourced Home & Personal Care Products
On the bulk refillery side of the store, patrons can stock up on plastic-free personal care and household products. The shop carries everything from body lotion, hair gel, and shampoo to foaming stain remover, laundry detergent, and sunscreen. Bring your own containers for bulk shopping, or purchase reclaimed and rescued jars in the store.
Bezak and Eagle, both moms who live in the local area, engage in product testing for months, using every item they sell between their two households. Products are sourced as close to Narberth as possible, shielding SHIFT from the supply chain woes that impact big box stores. Extensive research goes into selecting inventory, with an effort to prioritize businesses run by women and people of color.
“We really dig into the ingredients and the research and make sure there isn’t any greenwashing going on, so we can bring in these products with confidence knowing that we use these in our house every day,” says Bezak. “Then people can come in, and that anxiety and that overwhelming feeling of just not even knowing where to start can just be left at the door.”
Building a Community Hub
On the other side of SHIFT’s double storefront, a dedicated space hosts gatherings and workshops that emphasize sustainability in all forms. A Community Halloween Costume Swap, Custom Tea Blending workshop, and BYO Sip & Sew are just a few upcoming events on the SHIFT calendar.
“People are really thirsty to reconnect with each other,” says Bezak. “Pre-pandemic, we had no idea SHIFT would ever go in this direction. But we had the opportunity to listen to the community and understand their needs, and then let SHIFT grow in a very organic way. Elysha and I are just following it wherever it goes.”
Beyond workshops and gatherings, SHIFT also provides the space for recycling and donations. Some donation and recycling drives are short-term: for example, SHIFT is collecting clothing, linen, and fabric from October 2-22, fine china through October 1, bras through October 18, and books for an Eco-Library through December 31. Other drives are one-day only, like the fleece donation event on November 5 for Freedom Machine, a local artisan who will create limited edition Narberth bike helmet earmuffs from the donations.
SHIFT also collects glass jars for recycling on an ongoing basis. Drop-off is available 24/7, with all donations eventually delivered to Bottle Underground.
All of the products, events, and resources that SHIFT offers connect to the “5 Rs” of zero-waste living: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. While cutting back on waste may seem intimidating, Bezak says it’s about “small, incremental changes.”
“Peek in your trash can–what do you see first? That’s usually a pretty good indication of where to start.”
SHIFT is located at 252 Haverford Ave. in Narberth, PA. The shop is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am-6pm, Sundays from 11am-2pm, and closed on Mondays.
Photos courtesy of SHIFT Sustainable Goods and Services, LLC