Small Business Saturday Blog

Telford’s Lean Green Eco Machine

Monday, November 20, 2023 at 06:30

The Little Green Pantry is a multi-award-winning zero waste shop currently enjoying its second year on Wellington High Street in Telford. The business sells plastic-free refills of dried food, baking ingredients, cleaning liquids and much more, and has built a loyal following among eco-minded customers who want to do their bit for the planet.
Owner Keli King works hard to research new eco-friendly products, so that customers can make easy green swaps in their weekly shop, and is also able to offer advice on how to live more sustainably. And it’s working: she calculates that so far, The Little Green Pantry has diverted more than 49,000 pieces of plastic from landfill, due to customers purchasing their household toiletries and kitchen goods in recyclable paper or cardboard packaging and refilling rather than buying new.
Keli launched the business as a popup stall on Wellington Market back in 2019 after identifying a need for a plastic-free shopping experience in the Telford area. At the time, the nearest zero waste shop was more than 16 miles away. She told us, “Factoring in time, emissions, and costs, I didn't see this as a sustainable way to shop, so I decided to launch something similar in my local community.”
She shared an online survey in local community groups on social media, which gave her valuable feedback and showed there was a growing demand for this type of business. The community raised £4,486 in crowdfunding, including £1,500 funding from the Natwest Back Her Business Campaign, and this allowed Keli to set The Little Green Pantry up as a pop-up stall.
During covid, Keli switched to a delivery model to keep her business going. In 2021, she was able to move to a bricks and mortar shop on the high street, and the business has gone from strength to strength, which Keli attributes to a strong social media following and community support. She told us, “Since covid lockdowns, we have noticed an increasing appreciation of small local business in our town of Wellington. Shoppers are supporting our High Street and wanting to put money in local business owner pockets, and accepting American Express has made this even easier.”
Keli told us that she actively seeks out and supports local like-minded businesses, either through becoming a stockist of their products or offering pop up space within the shop on busy Saturdays to help them reach new customers. This helps bring some variety to the shop on a weekly basis, and her customers love discovering new local businesses.
Indeed, Keli told us about the revival she’s noticed on Wellington High Street over the last year or so, thanks to the opening of small independent shops like The Little Green Pantry.
She told us, “The variety and personality of each shop and its owners is attracting people from further afield, including from out of town and overseas, and this is having a positive impact on footfall, supporting many other local businesses too. We are so grateful for American Express’ support through their Shop Small Campaign, as it literally puts our business on the map, making us visible to many more people across the country. Accepting American Express payments allows us to serve many more customers and visitors to our town.”
The Little Green Pantry played a major part in gaining plastic free accreditation for Wellington, with Keli being deputy chair of the local Wellington Plastic Free Community Steering Group and the shop being used as a hub and meeting point for local community group leaders to discuss their progress.
The business has become a hub in many other ways too, hosting toy, clothes and food swaps in collaboration with The Climate Action Hub Telford, offering a free Tetrapak collection in store, collecting confectionery tubs in January which are then sent to the Greene King Tub2Pub scheme to be recycled, and acting as a collection point for the Christmas Smile Project, which provides gifts for children and adults in care.
Keli and her team have also been involved in local litter picks, eco festivals, youth climate summits and local green day events, spreading the word of plastic free shopping and educating the general public on becoming more sustainable.
Their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed: they have also won Telford & Wrekin Council’s bi-annual High Street Awards two years running, as well as an Award for Business Champion for Social Responsibilities at the 2022 Telford Community Pride Awards. It’s clear that the future looks bright – and green and plastic-free – in Telford.
Visit The Little Green Pantry at 2 Crown Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 1LP, or shop online here. Click here to find out more about the American Express Shop Small campaign.


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