By a family, and for your family.
EcoManiacs in La Grange is a true family business—owned by a mother, managed by her daughter, made more fun by the grandchildren—and they want to look out for other families who shop there.
The store, which opened on La Grange Road in December 2012, carries organic, recycled merchandise, or things that are sustainable and fair trade or socially concious. The focus is on early childhood toys and books, but there's a lot for adults to, including clothing and candles.
"We've taken a lot of time and care researching the products," manager Becca Klinger said.
So what does that mean? Children's plates are made from recycled plastic. The Wonderworld line of wooden toys are sustainable in that the company plants two trees for every tree harvested for its products. Books are made with recycled paper.
Klinger grew up in Clarendon Hills, and her mother, Leah Kroeger, ran a home child care business for 20 years. Her interest in early childhood education and Klinger's interest in being eco-friendly made for a great new business idea.
She now lives in Elmhurst with her husband Nate, who also works at the store, and their children, Rhealynn (5) and Trace (3). The children are quite the little salespeople, too. They'll demonstrate how to ride on some toys or how the putty changes colors.
"We're just looking for healthy options for families," Klinger said. "A lot of things can cause illnesses, or they're tied to chemicals and we don't even know it. We're hoping to provide families with education about that."
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They attend conferences to learn more about eco-friendly products, and they also invite children to free classes at the store. "Crafty Thursdays," shows children how to use recycled materials to make crafts. For instance, the kids have used water bottles to make snowman crafts, or recycled cardboard to make cutouts of trees.
Local artist Gabriel De La Mora, whose mother just opened Painted Rubbish, is also giving drawing classes to children at the store. Klinger said they would also like to add adult classes.
The merchandise isn't just for kids either. There's fair trade clothing with organic cotton, soy candles, upcycled tote bags and more.
"It used to be that you couldn't find much that was eco-friendly and looked cool, but that's changed," Klinger said. "I've been into the eco-friendly movement for a while. I just feel better when I'm exercising and living an organic life."
Save Some 'Green': EcoManiacs has a St. Patrick's Day sale this week, offering 17 percent off merchandise on Sunday.
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