GENEVA, N.Y. — A new local branding effort seeks to promote the Rochester region in hopes of spurring more economic development in the area.
One of the businesses highlighted in the new Greater ROC campaign is The Waste Not Shop in Geneva.
“You can use for curry, stews, all kinds of yummy recipes,” said owner Marilla Gonzalez as she bagged up some red lentils.
In most stores, this would come in plastic packaging, but at The Waste Not Shop, customers can use a reusable container or a compostable paper bag instead.
Gonzalez says the concept behind the store is to reduce waste by allowing people to buy everyday items such as food, cleaning and hygiene products with reusable packaging.
“Even though, an individual thinks that we may not contribute that much,” Gonzalez explained. “We are still sending bags and bags of garbage to the landfill every week and I started branching off of just the pantry stables and urban spices and saying what else, what else can we do without plastic.”
The Waste Not Shop has been around since 2019 and has recently caught the attention of the Greater ROC campaign.
Joe Stefko is the president of ROC 2025, which is an initiative with the goal of promoting economic growth in the Rochester region.
He explains the Greater ROC campaign aims to show why this part of New York is a great place to live, work and play by highlighting what the region already has in hopes of attracting more talent and new businesses.
“Marilla is a perfect example of a small business and entrepreneur who is thriving in our community," explained Stefko. "A unique, niche business which has a passionate following. We know that there are thousands of stories like that across our region. And we really want to leverage the Greater ROC brand framework and Greater ROC campaign to shine a light on those stories because they make this place as special as special as it is."
Gonzalez says she is happy to play a role in this campaign.
“To think that us in our tiny little shop might be catching the attention of people across the region was very exciting," said Gonzalez. "And we love being able to be a part of this area and getting the recognition that it deserves so it was really exciting for us to hear that.”
She also hopes to inspire people that making small changes like reducing the amount of plastics one uses can make a big difference.
“It’s really overwhelming as one person to think of saving the planet as a whole,” said Gonzalez. “But if you make it into a more manageable idea and look at your local environment to say 'what can I do to clean up my lake that I love or my hiking trail that I love?' it becomes possible.”
To learn more about the campaign, click here.