DUNEDIN — When Jessica Palenchar was in third grade while living in Satellite Beach, she joined her first environmental club: Defenders of Wildlife.
Environmental protection has always been important to Palenchar, so it seems that Dunedin is the appropriate place for her to launch her new business, called Resupply Market, at 1597 Main St.
The value of eco-friendly practices isn't lost on this community, to say the least.
At the start of the year as Palenchar was working on a project about the things people can do to help them live more sustainably, she discovered there are products to reduce their use of single-use plastics and similar wasteful things that were not widely available.
"And so I came up with this idea because there really wasn't anything in this area to make it easier for people to make those swaps to more sustainable products to their homes," she said.
A few weeks ago she opened the Resupply Market, which offers replacement items for single-use practice products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, straws, shampoo, cleaners, sponges, disposable cutlery and more.
Among the main goals of the market is to make products that come with minimal or no packaging.
They offer a bottle-exchange program through which customers can purchase glass bottles of varying sizes of cleaning products and then exchange the bottles in the future, reminiscent of the milkman system, she said.
Affordability is a priority, too, for her new business.
"We have worked hard to source products that are high-quality and earth-friendly, but also affordable. We want people from all income levels to be able to shop at Resupply Market," Palenchar said.
Besides having a bachelor's degree in biology, Palenchar has a doctorate in plant medicine from the University of Florida.
"As a gardener, one thing that I have struggled to find in the area is seasonally and location-appropriate vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. Many large, nationally-owned companies stock the same seeds for all of their stores," she said. "So, when Resupply Market opened, we made sure to stock a large selection of seasonally and Central Florida-appropriate seeds."
The store just started carrying butterfly plants and other native plants.
"Our selection is small at the moment, but if native plants are something people want us to carry, we will work to expand our selection," she said.
A popular product at the store are Swedish dishcloths, made from cotton and cellulose. One is equivalent to 17 rolls of paper towels, she said.
"You can just wash them and reuse them and they will last six to nine months," she said.
The community education and engagement aspect is an important part of the business, and Palenchar plans to hold events and classes on some Saturday mornings and other times.
A grand opening celebration is slated for Saturday, Nov. 7. For more information about the store, such as products, pickup, returns and events, visit https://www.shopresupply.com/.
"We definitely want to partner with the local businesses, with the local governments, with the local nonprofits," she said. "We are operating some classes already with some of the local businesses, so that's something we definitely want to continue. If the local government needs a place to have a seminar or teach people about something, we would be into that also with the local nonprofits."
For now, the hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed Wednesdays. Local pickup also is available at Bru Florida Growler Bar in Odessa. See the Resupply Market's website for more details.
Palenchar lives in Dunedin with her husband and two teenage sons.
She calls her business the first northern Pinellas County low-waste store. Similar businesses are opening all over the country.
"It's definitely something that will become more common, fortunately," she said.