How We’re Making the Park Interpretive Store Better than Ever
Crystal Cove’s Park Interpretive Store — you know the one, it’s that handsome little yellow shack tucked behind the Visitor Center, overlooking Los Trancos Creek — has been going through some changes this year.
And we don’t just mean adding precautions to keep everyone safe during the COVID crisis — though we’ve been working on that, too. Actually, just about everything in the Park Store has been under the microscope. We’re making sure that new merchandise is ethically produced as locally as possible. We’re phasing out everything made of, wrapped in, or shipped using plastics. We’re also doubling down on performing a social good by choosing vendors who donate their proceeds to organizations that support a better world.
Thankfully, because of a $300 grant from Parks California, we were able to defray some of the costs associated with reopening — by placing social distancing markers, stocking up on cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, adding plexiglass shields at the register, and securing PPE for our employees. We even rearranged the store into a one-way-in, one-way-out gauntlet to reduce the chance of bumping into someone on your way through.
We decided to commit to carrying as many locally-produced products as possible. This has several benefits — in addition to having increased transparency about labor practices and reducing the size of our shipping-related carbon footprint, we also get to support our friends in the community. Slightly Choppy makes our classic Martini Flag mere miles away on the Newport Peninsula. Local artist Michael O. Smith designs our postcards. And that’s not all- many more items in the store are hand-crafted or produced in California and the United States rather than overseas.
You’ll also be noticing less and less plastic anywhere in the store. We started with switching from bottled to boxed water. Then we evaluated our vendors for their shipping materials, and ceased doing business with those who refused to switch to eco-friendly packaging. And, as we find suitable replacements, we started phasing out plastic beach toys and other souvenirs in favor of sustainable materials. If you’re in the store and you see plastic, trust us — it’s on its way out and won’t be coming back.
When you buy something at the Park Store, you’re already supporting a social good- all profits benefit the Crystal Cove Conservancy. But a great number of our vendors give a cut of their profits away as well! Keep Nature Wild commits to picking up a pound of trash for every product sold. 4ocean pulls plastic out of the sea. Kin and Care hires refugee women to produce their products (which are vegan and in reusable packaging, to boot!).
So next time you’re in the Historic District, make sure you swing by! You can find a treat for yourself or a gift for a loved one, and feel good that you’re supporting the causes you love. And if you aren’t able to come in person, our online store has you covered.