Zero Store in Leamington Spa was set up by owner and former teacher Charlie Demetriou back in the Autumn of 2018. Starting out with a friend running pop-up shops in local premises Naturally Baby and The Band Factory saw the popularity for plastic free, refillable and environmentally conscious products soar across Warwickshire.
This popularity for sustainable everyday items allowed Charlie to expand to her own physical store in Leamington Spa by the end of her first year trading. With the main purpose being a shop for locals where they can dispense everyday items in to their own containers, cutting out unnecessary plastic packaging that can often not be recycled.
She told us all about the loyal customers that have followed her from her simple pop ups at the beginning to her now ever expanding range of locally sourced and environmentally friendly products offered at Zero Store in Leamington town centre. And she must be doing something right, winning Muddy Stilettos’ Best Newcomer Award in 2019!
The Blue Planet Effect has seen remarkable changes in consumer’s buying habits as we all shift to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. Zero Store offers plastic free alternatives for a wide variety of your everyday essentials. From a refill station for baking ingredients, fruit, nuts, pasta, oats and much more for your food cupboards, to refillable cleaning products, cosmetics, skincare and reusable items. Not forgetting to mention their oat milk and fresh peanut butter on tap!
Head down to the local store with your own containers to fill up your cupboards with sustainable products that have been carefully selected by the Zero Store team. Charlie and team work hard ensuring they have expert product knowledge to advise their customers on all ranges of products available in store.
If you are looking for palm oil free products, plastic free packaging, local and affordable environmentally friendly products, Charlie personally researches and trials each brand and item to ensure they are up to scratch for her customers. Ensuring all her products are sourced from companies who are also making important changes to ensure a less harmful impact on our planet.
She told us that many products from her suppliers are decanted/sold and then the returnable drum or tub is sent back to be cleaned and reused, making sure every step in the supply chain is as zero waste as possible. The vast majority of the food products come in strong paper sacks- which can easily be reused or recycled.
She checks out prices of her most popular products in bigger retail stores, ensuring the quality and quantity you can get for your money at Zero Store is always competitive with the larger and less ethical superstores, giving Zero a great value options for everyone. Whether you are a single person living alone or have a large family back at home, you will be able to shop sustainably and ethically for all your household essentials at Zero Store Leamington.
And if you are further afield around Warwickshire, they also stock their carefully selected range of products in Napton Village Stores, The Green Unicorn Vegan store at Coventry’s Fargo Village, The Nest in Rugby and you can also click and collect the full range of products to Kenilworth’s F.Weetman and Son’s farm shop too.
The pandemic was a tricky one for Zero Store. Still considered an essential shop, Charlie told us how she felt lucky to remain open during the pandemic. But whilst she could keep trading on the quiet high street of Leamington town’s centre, she did need to make big adjustments to the store’s way of shopping.
Changing from their usual self-serve system, Zero Store got through the pandemic by attending to each customer in a counter style service; filling their bottles and paper bags whilst following the necessary guidelines to ensure everyone remained safe.
Charlie said it was difficult, the queues have been long at times but the team have done everything they could to help the local community get their sustainable products amidst such a challenging time…even when it meant packing up click and collect orders past 2am! That’s dedication!
Speaking of the online click and collect service, Charlie built this system in just 48 hours, and believes it undoubtedly saved her small business from collapse in 2020. Her customers have been able to take advantage of Zero’s online ordering service for products such as hair-care, skincare, refillable and locally produced cleaning products plus all the everyday essentials at affordable prices for any size household. Zero Store is the perfect place to visit and pick up the exact amount of what you need, preventing any further unnecessary waste!
Stocking over 400 different products, ranging from biodegradable and cruelty-free cleaning refills, store cupboard essentials and natural, plastic and cruelty free toiletries and skincare, Zero Store continues to grow as we come out the other side of this pandemic. When asked why she chose Leamington to start her business, Charlie expressed her love for being a part of such a tight knit community of small business owners.
She told us how much she loves being able to cross pollinate with other independent businesses; working with the likes of Monsoon Estate Coffee Company based in Stratford upon Avon and having the platform to promote other independents who are working hard to combat the wide range of environmental issues facing our world.
Charlie and her team are always on hand to support your selections at Zero Store in Leamington Spa, but she couldn’t do any of it without the background support from her parents and husband. She told us how much she values having such a fantastic support network behind her, providing her a great sounding board to bounce ideas off and get advice on all the niggly bits to running a business.
Whilst being in the store talking to customers and advising them on their sustainable purchases is where she thrives the most, Charlie did tell us she also has a love for some of the back of house operations too.
A chip off the ol’ block, Charlie secretly loves a bit of bookkeeping- taking after her dad who is a retired accountant and supports her with the administrative side of Zero Store. We’re so pleased she has such a fantastic network behind and alongside her in the store.
As things have got busier for Charlie and Zero, she has been lucky enough to find some incredible people to join her team. So when you head down to Leamington’s Zero Store and get chatting to the team about all their fantastic products you’re sure to find yourself learning new information about palm-oil, human rights across the world, plastic-free and reusable options and plenty of advice to help navigate the changing landscape of eco-friendly products.
And as restrictions continue to ease, Charlie is looking forward to returning to a self-serve system very soon; welcoming customers fully back into the store with their various containers from home. Alongside this, she has been working around the clock to improve Zero’s website, making online ordering even more efficient and easy to use.
Expect big and exciting announcements ahead as Zero continues to thrive, providing affordable and ethical solutions to all your household needs whilst also connecting you with other local makers and producers.
We feel immensely lucky to have Zero on our doorstep, providing us the perfect place to go and connect with a wide variety of small independent businesses in just one spot. Charlie loves being able to help customers make small, but permanent steps toward a more planet friendly lifestyle and is always searching for new and innovative refill ideas to stock in store. Her favourite addition is the peanut butter machine that makes fresh nut butter on tap instore, which sounds like something out of a dream!
Zero Store is now open 6 days a week and you are welcome to visit for refills and smiles anytime. And as society continues to reopen, we expect to see Charlie talking at some more events across Warwickshire, attending Leamington’s Eco Fest in September and Kenilworth’s Summer Market.
Keep your eyes peeled on their social media (Facebook & Instagram) for updates of other events and products this forward thinking business owner has planned. Click here to view their most recent updated product list or click here to visit the Zero Store’s website.