April 19th, 2016 10:24 AM by Nelson Aybar
Growing up, Sarah Metz was obsessed with recycling and the environment. Together with her twin sister and a handful of friends, she started an environmental club at her high school in the 1990s. It’s only fitting that she is channeling her passion into launching a package-free grocery store in Brooklyn called The Fillery. The store will be stocked with all kinds of grains, teas, coffees, spices and more...but no plastic.
Metz has drawn inspiration from stores like above, found in Lille, France.
Metz has been thinking about opening up a package-free grocery store in Brooklyn for over five years and has spent the last three years carefully planning it. The Fillery is quite literally filling a space that Metz has seen as lacking throughout the past nine years that she has lived in Brooklyn.
“I saw a bulk store in Michigan and loved the concept...I kept looking for something like it in Brooklyn but haven’t come across anything similar, so I decided to create it,” Metz said.
Metz noted that she has found several stores that offer bulk food options around Brooklyn, yet none of those stores are concerned with the waste that is generated. Over the years, Metz has become more and more aware of the amount of packaging associated with food products and she finally decided to act upon her ideas.
Another package-free store Metz found was in Berlin, Germany.
The Brooklyn Public Library has a business plan competition every year, and Metz entered the idea of The Fillery in the event for the past two years. She won second place last year, and through the process of entering the competition she has met with business advisors and went through a variety of workshops to prepare her for building and launching her business.
She has the backing of an investor for The Fillery, but perhaps even more importantly, she successfully raised $15,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. Raising capital for the project through the online platform has opened additional doors to Metz. It’s also provided fantastic publicity around the project while creating an early buzz for the yet-to-be-opened market.
Metz’s twin sister, an architect who is also taken with the idea of sustainability, is drafting plans for the space which will use repurposed materials.
Rendering of The Fillery by Metz’s twin sister, who is an architect.
The Fillery will partner with farms to provide jams and jellies along with milk in glass bottles, butter and eggs. Metz has The Fillery slated to be a CSA pick-up spot 2-3 times a week, as she is not anticipating that there will be a produce section.
“Space is tight in Brooklyn, so we’re trying to maximize our offerings by partnering with CSAs so people can still get all of their produce with minimum waste,” she said.
Metz is planning on a late summer opening for The Fillery and has the vendors lined up for the space. Autumn is the busiest time of year for stores like The Fillery, so Metz is working to open the store before then so that she can get some experience under her belt before the crush arrives in September.
And if The Fillery becomes the rousing success that it is expected to be? Metz would love to see the concept expand beyond Brooklyn to others parts of the country.
“I see it as a movement; a movement with less waste and towards sustainability,” Metz said.
And indeed, the concept will resonate with Brooklynites who are ecologically concerned as well as those who know that grains look much more aesthetically pleasing in a glass jar than a plastic bag.
The Fillery is coming to Brooklyn soon!