“I’m really sick of fear, I’m really interested in hope.”
That’s Liz Crocker. She has seen her share of fear over the prominence of climate change and ecological awareness in our culture. In the Halifax business community, she and co-owner Ann Caverzan operate the green business, with their environmental store, P’lovers. “We were the first people who said this is a better way of doing things.”
Crocker battles fear by offering the very best products that she can find. The store is a one-stop environmental department store, carrying literature about the environmental movement, hand made soap, hemp clothing, accessories made from recycled materials, environmentally and baby-safe baby products such as organic cloth diapers. And much, much more.
“We opened 15-and-a-half years ago,” says Crocker, at a time when the complexion of the green culture was, well, a lot less green. “In terms of the public, we found we had to do a lot explaining on what an environmental store was.” Environmental activists understood, as did people with environmental sensitivities. “That was a time when a lot of people had been environmentally sick, and the community of people who had environmental sensitivities, they were thrilled because we were carrying products that they had to go to some quite gymnastic feat to acquire.” She has seen the awareness of what she’s doing spike, and a more informed clientele who now drop in to pick up stainless steel water bottles rather than Nalgene plastics. “To some degree, issues that hit the news ricochet into our store.”
For a product to be carried at P’lovers it has to be screened for a number of issues, with organic being high on the list. “Whenever possible for products that fulfill the above criteria, we purchase locally,” says Crocker. “But when it’s not local then, especially when we get into overseas suppliers, we want to make sure it is Fair Trade.” She’s published a document that details the care they take when ordering products from China, and interestingly, not damning the entire country when some Chinese companies are being conscientious.
“In a sense, our objective is to be unnecessary,” she says. “That the things we pick and choose so mainstream that we’re not necessary. When we opened we sold compact fluorescent light bulbs. Now you can get them everywhere.”
One of the marketing messages of P’lovers is people should be consuming less, and yet, it is a retail store located in a swanky mall (Park Lane) typically driven by activities of consumption. “We struggle with this,” she says. “Are we part of the problem? Well, no. We are living in a materialistic society, our role is to provide better alternatives to the needs people have. We’re a mission-driven business. If we’re successful on the mission, then we won’t have a need to have a business, but without the business, we can’t drive the mission."p’lovers park lane, 5657 Spring Garden, 422-6060