Just Toledo began with a desire to divert waste from landfills and waterways.
Co-Founder Courtney Fillion, along with her daughter Jessica Fillion-Ritchie, began exploring the process of making castile soap and body butter in an effort to reduce waste in their home. After giving the products to friends and family and receiving positive feedback, the business launched in February 2020 with a ‘milk-man’ delivery model. For every container returned, customers received three dollars off of their next order.
Courtney moved on to distribute her products in the local farmers market scene and met Co-Founder Anna Bennett, who, at the time, was making dog treats. Now, with the April 2023 grand opening of their brick-and-mortar location at 909 Jefferson Ave., Just Toledo touts zero-waste products, community events and more.
Just Toledo offers a variety of handmade products, from household cleaners and food items to skin, body and hair care products. Bennett sees Just Toledo as a general store that has a little bit of everything. Food products include sourdough snacks, reminiscent of popular crackers and cereal, with plans to expand the food item selections to help combat the food desert in Toledo’s downtown area.
Fillion-Ritchie explains the process and the benefits of using these natural products. “Castile is an ancient method of making soap with animal fats and ash. Now we use modern ingredients such as pure lye and different oils like coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil.”
Just Toledo offers varieties of soap to address allergies and preferences. All of the shop’s cleaning and care products are made with high quality ingredients and are gentle on the skin.
Just Toledo also partners with a wide variety of local businesses, showcasing those local products, including kombucha from Boochy Mama, plants from Green Crow, coffee from Flying Rhino along with products from other Toledo businesses.
Removing the Intimidation
Fillion explains that Just Toledo’s goal is to make zero-waste more accessible and easier to understand. That effort includes financial aid for anyone who wants to try the products to start living more sustainably. Just Toledo also offers sliding scale pricing.
“We were adamant from the start to include a sliding scale,” Fillion said. “The cost of zero-waste living often intimidates people so if anyone needs help all they need to do is ask. We can offer 10% – 40% off of the cleaning and care products we make.” The food items and products from other vendors are not eligible for the discount.
Another frequent barrier to zero-waste living is a lack of education, something Fillion and Bennett feel passionately about working to change. Just Toledo offers programs and events – educational, spiritual and fun and crafty. Just Toledo has hosted a “Backyard Compost 101” class and a “Next Level Compost” class, with plans to provide additional composting classes on a regular basis to get more people interested.
Programs also include meditation classes, movement classes, crafts and more. “We’d like to host wine and wrap classes for the holiday season, teaching people how to wrap gifts with fabric that’s been donated to the store,” Bennett said.
Just Toledo’s goal is to continue partnering with more local businesses, while expanding class offerings and making zero-waste living fun and accessible for everyone.
Just Toledo. 909 Jefferson Ave. 419-973-0084. justtoledo.net.