Wednesday, April 2, 2008
The Green Spot works to enhance community
Kermit was wrong - it is easy bein' green.
DALLAS The Green Spot is not your typical gas station and mini mart – it is instead a biodiesel-carrying “ecovenience” store. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil and animal fats that many vehicles use as fuel. The Green Spot not only serves customers this domestic renewable fuel, but also offers organic products similar to Whole Foods and Central Market.
Alvaro Garza, a previous owner of two Smoothie Factories, and Bruce Bagelman, a biodiesel enthusiast, are behind this operation. They recognized a need in East Dallas for a store that caters to health-conscious and earth-friendly consumers. It is an area that Garza says “is ignored by the natural industry,” even though it is considered a “greener” geographic area in the Metroplex.
Biodiesel options at The Green Spot include B5 and B99, mixtures with 5% and 99.9% vegetable oil, respectively. Although biodiesel is currently only compatible with unmodified diesel engines, Garza mentions that Audi and BMW have vehicles in the works that could eventually use biodiesel. Regular gas is also available for non-biodiesel engines.
“When people care about what they are putting in their vehicle,” Garza says, “they usually care about what they are putting in their body.” Certainly, there is a connection between those who use The Green Spot’s gas and shop their convenience store, but the store serves a wide clientèle.
Close to White Rock Lake, athletes regularly stock up on goods needed for an intense training session. Other customers span from vegans and people with gluten or peanut allergies to dieters and parents who are relieved their children have a store full of options they can feel good about.
Between its renewable resources, healthy foods and community involvement, The Green Spot hopes to continue acquiring loyal customers. The store is already involved with nearby schools and For the Love of the Lake, a group dedicated to preserving White Rock Lake.
So far, Garza has received positive feedback from people who are excited to have access to healthier options, support a local business, or “reduce their carbon footprint.” It is this positive feedback that Garza hopes will continue to bring business to the store. He says, “Word of mouth is best - giving back to the community is a great marketing plan.”
One especially distinguishing characteristic that may deter customers from visiting is the store’s lack of alcohol and cigarettes, a major source of profit for convenience stores. While the absence of alcohol is a result of location – the store is in a dry area – the lack of cigarettes is a conscious decision.
“We want to feel good about our products and promote a healthy lifestyle. We don’t feel that cigarettes fit that healthy image,” says Garza.
As for now, it seems The Green Spot is doing just fine without peddling those vices.
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