Sophie Bolich

The Glass Pantry Will Close

The first-of-its-kind store in Milwaukee has not yet announced an official closing date.

By - Aug 23rd, 2022 02:50 pm
The Glass Pantry. Photo taken August 23, 2022 by Sophie Bolich

The Glass Pantry. Photo taken August 23, 2022 by Sophie Bolich

The Glass Pantry, a zero-waste bulk store, will close after operating for two years in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.

“All of us here have loved serving you for the past few years but it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter,” owner Jenna Meier said in a lengthy Facebook post Thursday.

Meier opened the store, 1039 S. 5th St., in June 2020, selling pantry staples, skincare, hygiene products and household goods in a plastic-free format. Due to the pandemic, it initially opened curbside pickup and delivery only. As restrictions loosened, customers were able to enter the store, reusable containers in hand, to fill up on goods.

The Glass Pantry was a first-of-its-kind store in the city. Many grocery stores have bulk bins for pantry staples and some, like Fresh Thyme, allow customers to bring reusable containers. But The Glass Pantry went further than that, offering shampoo, hand soap, laundry detergent, olive oil and more. The store also stocked low-waste alternative items like plastic-free toothpaste tablets, bamboo floss, reusable paper towels and stainless steel razors with recyclable blades.

The store is not closing from a lack of support, Meier clarified in a separate Instagram story post. Rather, Meier feels called to spend more time with her two kids.

The store has not yet announced an official closing date. The Facebook post reassured customers that there is plenty of time left for final visits.

As The Glass Pantry ends its chapter, there is a high likelihood that a similar store will open in its wake, according to the post.

“Lots of people have approached me about opening zero waste shops over the last few years,” Meier said. “So if you are interested in opening up your own space in the area, let me know!! I would love to help out.”

In the meantime, zero-waste, bulk items are available at other stores in Milwaukee and surrounding cities. Health food stores and co-ops like Outpost Natural Foods, Fresh Thyme and Riverwest Co-op & Cafe often stock plastic-free alternatives and allow customers to bring reusable containers for bulk goods. Farmers markets are also a safe bet for plastic-free produce, bar soap and other local goods. For beer, a modest upfront investment for a growler is a great way to reduce packaging–most breweries throughout the city will gladly fill the 64 oz container.

For now, The Glass Pantry is still operating during its regular hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store also has an online shop, offering free local delivery or store pick-up.

The Glass Pantry operated its storefront in a historic building on 5th Street. Initially constructed as early as 1878, the building was rebuilt in 1887 in the bold Queen Anne architectural style favored by shopkeepers at the time. The building originally housed a first-floor grocery store and blacksmith and second-floor apartments.

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Categories: Food & Drink, Weekly

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