Ocean County’s First Zero Waste & Refill Store Is Now Open In Toms River
Updated – to reflect a correction: In the original article, I accidentally wrote that the Loza sisters were students at Rutgers, when in fact they are nursing students at Seton Hall University. My apologies to the Loza family.
May 20, 2023, was a big day for Brooke and Madison Loza. The twin sisters from Brick, New Jersey hosted the grand opening of Ocean County’s first ever zero waste and refill store – One Stop Eco Shop at 1174 Fischer Boulevard in the Fischer Court Shopping Center.
Back in 2020, Brooke created an Instagram account to raise awareness about the waste that was and still is threatening our planet. What started out as zero-waste product guides and posts loaded with information, turned into easy and affordable ways people like herself could become more sustainable and work towards a low-waste lifestyle.
Throughout the years, Brooke and her sister Madison believed that everyone should have access to sustainable and affordable zero-waste products which drove them to start a business. One year later, the online version of One Stop Eco Shop was born.
Two years after the online store went live, the Loza sister’s dream of having an actual retail space became a reality.
I stopped by a couple of weeks before the grand opening to see how things were coming along. The pictures below tell the story, it was not even close to being finished. I had no doubt that these determined young women would get this done in time for the grand opening with the help and support of their families.
I returned on opening day to see lots of smiles, and a nearly stocked store with shoppers filling their reusable containers with items for their pantries such as pasta, quinoa, organic brown sugar, granola, all-purpose flour, a large variety of spices including organic selections, olive oil, avocado oil, and vinegar all priced by the ounce.
There was a nice selection of personal care items such as sunscreen, aloe vera gel, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner (the citrus & vanilla smelled divine), toothpaste, and body lotions.
Eco-friendly household cleaning products from laundry detergent, to toilet cleaning pods.
I was happy to see cat treats for my fur baby Oscar Wilde. He actually went wild when I came home and placed a few of those premium-quality goodies on the floor.
One Stop Eco Shop will also carry dog treats. They are currently on backorder and are expected to arrive soon.
I love how the operation is set up. There’s a community jar area and weigh station to the right as you walk into the store with cubby blocks loaded with some supply containers for sale, and containers donated by other customers for you to use should you forget to bring containers.
Before you start shopping, you weigh each container on the scale separately, then you take a tare weight disk complete with an elastic band from the jar next to the scale and touch the disk to the top of the scale’s computer screen and it will subtract the weight of the container, then you wrap the elastic band around your container and go shopping.
I got to meet the twin’s family members, including their mom, Andrea, dad John, Grandma Rose, Aunt Michelle, and their brother Jacob who is also a twin. Jacob’s twin sister Emily was not there when I arrived.
If you don’t see what you’re looking for, feel free to ask. If you have any suggestions on what you would like to see in the shop or need them to stay a little late or come in early – just let them know! They want to make refilling as accessible as possible!
Current operating hours are Monday from -1pm – 8 pm and 10 am – 8 pm Tuesday through Sunday.
I remain blown away by these 20-year-old Seton Hall University nursing students and their quest to make the world a better place. On opening day, I was made aware that not only are Brooke and Madison on the Dean’s list, they recently joined the Army National Guard.
Brooke and Madison Loza are living proof that if you can dream it, you can be it. They are smart, hardworking, tenacious visionaries who give me hope for the future. I am honored and proud to know these phenomenal young women.