United By Blue is a clothing store and café that focuses on keeping oceans and waterways clean and beautiful through community cleanups and sustainable business practices. While the storefront officially opened in the fall of 2013, the company has been operating since 2010, hosting 102 cleanups across 21 states.
While these outdoor events have helped to remove more than 170,000 pounds of trash, the storefront in Old City also makes it a point to do everything as eco-responsibly as possible.
“I like to be a part of something that does well for the community and the environment,” said Annie Oliver, an employee at United By Blue. “Everything we have is so sustainable and I think that [the shop] is run really well.”
United By Blue uses wind and solar energy within the store, has local organic coffee from ReAnimator Coffee and even serves their goods in recyclable and compostable packaging. For their apparel, United By Blue uses sustainably conscious materials such as organic cotton and organic waxed canvas that reduce the amount of pesticides and use less water in the production process.
“What I think is really neat about this space is it’s opened our eyes to the potential of what a physical retail space could be for United By Blue,” said Mike Cangi, vice president of United By Blue. “[By] combining the coffeehouse and the clothing together, it makes for something that’s a little bit different than what’s out there.”
– Text, video and images by Joanne Caruso