A new plastic free refill shop has arrived in Christchurch and is looking to link the community together and help promote other local businesses.

Two Rivers Refill, located on Fountain Way, opened its doors as part of a soft launch last Friday and are planning to launch officially before the Easter holidays.

Having previously shopped at other refill shops in the Bournemouth area, including The Naked Pantry in New Milton and Almond & Co. in Westbourne, Jodie Firmin, a former creative development manager with ICHF events, realised they were missing a shop in Christchurch.

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“Being in the events industry broke my heart,” said Jodie.

“When one event has been assembled and broken down in the space of a few days and you see the amount of waste and rubbish left behind, its heart-breaking.

“One day I just said to myself that I didn’t want to be in this industry anymore and thought about what I could do to help the environment.”

Jodie has put all of her savings into the shop, which has been kitted out with liquid and dry food dispensers and a peanut butter machine, as well as tables, shelves and counter tops made from reclaimed wood and wooden pallets to minimise the shop’s plastic usage.

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Even the shop’s signage, made by Pro Sign in Christchurch, is made from recyclable materials and include no PVC.

Inside, the shop has been stocked with produce and items from Christchurch based companies including Eco Coach House’s range of cloths, wipes and kitchen towels and Forest Edge coffee.

Jodie said: “We are linked with Forest Wholefoods who are very keen to help us out and cater for us.

“We are trying not to order lots of stock because we are restricted on the amount of storage we can have.

“We only have a small range at the moment as we have only just opened but we plan on increasing our selection depending on what the customers want.”

The shop have a suggestions board of potential raw ingredients customers would like to have stocked at the refill shop. As the shop’s clientele grows, Judie will look to expand their stock to help cater to her customer’s needs.

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Jodie added: “We have taken out a parting wall to make a community area where we can run small workshops, so if people want to learn how to make beeswax or moon pads, they can come along and learn from the people that make them.

“Everyone has been so lovely; we were really busy on the Friday and Saturday of our soft launch and everyone that came in said they liked the look of the shop and were surprised about the stock we had.”

Now that their fund have dried up, the shop is appealing to locals to help fund money for a fridge, freezer and a coffee grinder to finish kitting out their store.

“The worry for some people is that it can be a complicated thing to do, getting containers together and weighing out ingredients,” said Jodie. “We just want to keep it as simple as possible for our customers.”

“To anyone who hasn’t shops at a refill shop before, I would suggest just to start small, bring in a couple of containers, see the kind of stock that we have and do a couple of refills.

“If people like it, they can always come back for more.”