Why does Stillwater need a green business directory? Have you ever tried to find a local business that uses organics and not chemicals on your lawn? A restaurant that has vegetarian and vegan options? A store that sells clothing not made by child labor? If you care about issues like this, it’s about to get easier.
GreenStillwater.org, created by Sustainable Stillwater MN, a 501c3 nonprofit, is Washington County’s first green business directory where shoppers can find businesses that share their values.
Two years in the making, the Greater Stillwater Area Green Business Directory is also designed to be a resource for a new generation of socially and environmentally conscious consumers to visit, shop, work, and live here.
To be considered for the directory, a company or organization that serves Washington County, Minnesota must fill out an application online at GreenStillwater.org. The 30-minute application has questions about waste disposal, water usage, energy conservation, and more. There are bonus points for good practices in their business category, like restaurants, landscapers, and yoga studios.
So far, more than a dozen companies have applied and been accepted. Each accepted business gets a public “report card” and a bronze, silver, or gold award. Company achievement levels are tiered from entry-level to advanced so that many businesses will qualify at some level.
Although some companies are hesitant to apply because they fear failure , the fact is most companies are greener than they think. They are already sustainable because it saves them money on waste disposal and energy, which is the biggest part of the application.
The Water Street Inn in Stillwater, which received a extra-credit score of 87 out of 80 qualifying points, qualified for a Gold Level award. The Water Street Inn has solar on the roof, does extensive recycling and waste reduction, provides a living wage to workers, supports community organizations, and is certified as sustainable by the Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Association, among many other initiatives.
Another is IPS-Solar. This locally based clean energy company serves the clean energy needs of businesses in Washington County with solar farm and rooftop solar installations and is involved in helping nonprofits like Sustainable Stillwater MN in local communities.
Andersen Corporation, Lakeview Hospital, Artisan Environments (landscaping), Joseph’s Restaurant, River Market Community Co-op, VistaTek, FamilyMeans, First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater, Valley Outreach, Sarah Grace Photography, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts of Woodbury, Healing Within Acupuncture and Wellness Studio, and Chilkoot Cyclery are also members.
The project is supported by grants and donations from Washington County BizRecycling, the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, Lakeview Hospital, IPS-Solar, and the Stillwater Rotary Clubs. Partners include Washington County, EnergySmart, MNTAP, RETAP, CERTS, and other services listed on GreenStillwater.org's resource page.
Green businesses will grow on their own, because green business makes good sense. But the Green Business Directory at GreenStillwater.org aims to make a green recovery happen faster. Do you know a business that should apply? Ask them to visit GreenStillwater.org!