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The Naked Grocer: Capitol Hill’s “waste-less” haven

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“We’re like the farmers market that’s open seven days a week.”

Jayne Truesdell, owner of The Naked Grocer, has combined her history in business logistics, design, and food to bring a “waste-less” store into the heart of Seattle. Located at 620 East Pine St. – just a block west from the Seattle Central campus – The Naked Grocer extends the opportunity to the Capitol Hill community to get their hands on fresh local produce, bulk ingredients, pantry staples, household necessities, and more. 

Jayne Truesdell, the owner of The Naked Grocer.
© 2018, Joshua Poehlein All rights Reserved Jayne Truesdell, the owner of The Naked Grocer.

Just like any new business owner, Truesdell has faced her fair share of problems while getting The Naked Grocer up and running: “I obviously didn’t anticipate doing it during a pandemic or the impending financial crisis,” she explained, while also discussing other problems such as lease negotiations and permits, not to mention a recent break-in. 

The Naked Grocer’s mass selection of bulk ingredients.
Mo Dulitz | The Seattle Collegian The Naked Grocer’s mass selection of bulk ingredients.

While Truesdell acknowledged the difficulty of getting her business established, she underscored that “difficult doesn’t mean impossible.” After experiencing the deaths of her grandmother, father, and a highschool friend all within eight months of each other, Truesdell elaborated that “being really close to somebody while they pass away and going through that experience with them made me very attuned to the finiteness of my own life, and it also helped clarify to me what is important.”

“I was like, okay, I know I want to do something that I believe is for the greater good of people and of the world.”

Rows of jars holding spices, grains, and more, sold by the pound.
Mo Dulitz | The Seattle Collegian Rows of jars holding spices, grains, and more, sold by the pound.

The operations of The Naked Grocer do just that; the establishment attempts to reduce as much waste as possible, source locally, and support the community around them. However, a big concern for many is the higher cost of sustainable products. Truesdell not only acknowledges this issue, but aims to provide a safe space for learning and acceptance: “This should be here if people want to try, and I encourage people to try, but I also think that if you are at a place in your life where your mental health is suffering, or like, you feel like it would be more valuable to have that extra thirty minutes with your kids, I get that.”

“This is a privileged sort of way to shop.” But Truesdell aims to “use that privilege to give back to the community.” 

The Naked Grocer offers sustainable toiletry products such as wooden brushes, dry shampoo, and more.
The Naked Grocer offers sustainable toiletry products such as wooden brushes, dry shampoo, and more.
Mo Dulitz | The Seattle Collegian

The Naked Grocer has recently been approved for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which will be available for those who are eligible soon. In addition to this, the store is consciously priced with costs for customers being “as low as feasible,” according to Truesdell. 

The shop is not only focused on its connection with customers, but also with supporting local farmers and vendors: “We try to source as much locally as possible, and we also try to consider if its a BIPOC or woman-owned business, too.” Truesdell voiced that 50% of The Naked Grocer’s products are hyperlocal. 

Vibrant hyperlocal produce available at The Naked Grocer.
Mo Dulitz | The Seattle Collegian Vibrant hyperlocal produce available at The Naked Grocer.

That overarching sense of community is big for Truesdell: “My favorite part is the customers and getting to know people and what they like.” While low-waste, sustainable shopping can be a process to learn and get used to, Truesdell expressed, “we are trying to work with what people want and need,” she adds, “buying local isn’t just about saying buying local, it’s about having a connection and a relationship with the community.”

“I want it to feel very welcoming to everyone.”

The Naked Grocer’s window sign, beckoning in customers from Capitol Hill.
Mo Dulitz | The Seattle Collegian The Naked Grocer’s window sign, beckoning in customers from Capitol Hill.

Ultimately, Truesdell wants her patrons to know that their opinions matter: “As the consumers…we are also responsible with what we demand of producers.”

“Don’t let people oppress you by telling you that your voice doesn’t matter.” For all of your sustainable-shopping needs, The Naked Grocer is the spot. Whether you’re attempting to purchase the majority of your groceries and necessities in a “waste-less” fashion, or simply trying out a few local goods – some of Truesdell’s favorites include granola from Seattle Granola Company, Walden Selections wine, and ground Aleppo pepper – The Naked Grocer offers access to benefit not only your personal efforts, but the Capitol Hill community as a whole.

Morgan currently attends Seattle Central with aspirations to pursue a career in holistic health and local food systems while also delving into anthropology. She aims to explore the world and reveal the stories it wishes to tell through her writing and photography/videography. When she’s not captivated by her journalistic pursuits, she loves to go on adventures, create, watch films, and surf. As of now, she is a barista at a local café, but she aims to cultivate a life where her many passions are integrated into her work.

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