Owner of Sidewalkers, Lori Merrill, says she eliminates plastic, sells Canadian-made brands and recycles materials whenever possible in her store. (Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

Local store in Terrace encourages other businesses to be more eco-friendly

Sidewalkers is working with Plastic Free Terrace to provide examples of going green

When it comes to running an environmentally-conscious business, there’s one shop in Terrace that’s been ahead of the trend for decades.

Sidewalkers, owned by Lori Merrill, is being recognized by Plastic Free Terrace as a guide to local businesses on how to become eco-friendly.

“It’s in my bones to just be aware of my footprint and how you use the land, and how you operate in your community,” says Merrill. “I am your absolute local-vore.”

From eliminating plastic, selling Canadian-made brands to recycling materials whenever possible, she wants to show everybody it’s possible to do the same to help our planet. The “utilitarian” clothing she sells is either made from rayon, cotton, bamboo, linen and other natural fibres.

“When I buy, I have people in mind, I have the community in mind, I have a lifestyle in mind… I’m self-taught, I just know it feels good on me and I know it looks good on someone else,” she says. “I follow some classic styling [at Sidewalkers] so it stays longer in our closet because if you go for the top fashion choices that don’t last, it’s just for that season.”

She says she received a “lukewarm response” from shoppers when she first began her business venture to pay a little more for locally-sourced or eco-conscious items, but decided to pursue it regardless.

“I think people know they have a choice, it’s just if it’s part of their psyche to think about that. Once you start down that path, it grows [and] you start to think about all the different things that you’re consuming,” she says. “Consumers have choices, we can determine economics, we can determine how things are done.”

READ MORE: Terrace resident asks council to consider city-wide ban of single-use plastics

And in the last few years, she’s noticed a difference in awareness and efforts from her customers. Merrill says local grassroots movements like Plastic Free Terrace, founded by advocate Leticia Kistamas, are changing the way people shop.

Plastic Free Terrace was created after Kistamas made a public plead to the City of Terrace and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine to phase out single-use plastics in the area. Since then, she’s taken it upon herself to approach local businesses and work with them on how they can reduce their plastic consumption.

“The whole plastic-free thing that is going on in Terrace right now, and globally, is about consumption that’s out of control,” says Merrill. “[Leticia] has really brought forward those questions for us, and she’s also offering us to look at and to discuss alternatives. She understands, she’s passionate about it and I’m blown away by what she’s accomplished so far.”

READ MORE: Canadian garbage rotting in Manila violates international law, lawyers say

Throughout the years, Merrill has been a part of a few committees to introduce more ethical initiatives. She helped bring the Skeena Valley Farmers Market to Terrace and was a member of the Terrace Downtown Improvement Area (TDIA) society to encourage more people to recycle, along with hosting clean-up events.

Merrill says she believes in the possibility of becoming a zero-waste city as it’s something for the community to take pride in and could also help create jobs. She adds educating youth in schools is also a great way to start.

“I grew up in a time where you didn’t want to be a litterbug, it was put into us. There was a little song that we would sing and we’d never drop any garbage as kids,” she says. “That’s untapped yet. Let’s really put that into the schools and bring that back.”

On a white wall parallelling Sidewalkers, a painted mural of a forest can be seen through the windows of the store. On the business’ 20th anniversary, Merrill contracted local artist Noreen Spence to commemorate the trees that stood for many centuries before humans took their place. Now, only the “mother tree” remains in the yard.

“I was inspired by these shadows that would come on the wall [from the mother tree],” says Merrill. “Nature means everything to me. That’s why I live here. It’s where I go, it’s where I live and I created that… I believe in this so strongly and I just hope there are others.”



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Upper Skeena Recreation Centre evacuated after ammonia leak detected

The leak was related to refrigerators responsible for ice maintenance of the skating rink

Skeena Voices | The perfect fit

Seamstress Elaine Craig opened her own customized dress shop to empower women

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Laundry an essential cycle to protect Terrace firefighters from cancer

Fire hall getting a minor renovation, new washer and dryer this fall

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

The Northern View announces inaugural Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

More than $7,000 up for grabs for biggest legal salmon and halibut

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Most Read