Shopping with a Purpose

An Eco-friendly Boutique

Article by Aubrey Sewell

Photography by Submitted by Market Earth

Originally published in Fort Myers Lifestyle

Strolling the streets of downtown Fort Myers is nothing short of quaint and refined; and nestled amongst the historic buildings and lively restaurants is a one-of-a-kind corner store on First Street, Market Earth. This earth-friendly store is the handiwork of owner, Karen Allegretti, who left her corporate life in the Chicago area to build a business and brand around the things she loved: products with a purpose. While Market Earth was started in 2012, it didn’t land at its brick and mortar location in the River District until March of 2013.

The primary focus of Market Earth is disproving the myth that fair trade and ethically made products are of a lesser quality. Karen wanted to show people that they don’t have to give up quality or style to buy products that give back and everything sold in the store gives back in some way-fair trade, eco-friendly, recycled, ethically made or companies with a strong philanthropic arm. Karen calls it a “gift within a gift,” which makes every purchase more satisfying.

While some of these terms may seem unfamiliar, Karen’s philosophy of “products with a purpose” is all about supporting the artisan spirit. Fair trade items help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and greater equity in international trading, as well as helps promote sustainable development for both producers and workers in developing countries. Recycling or upcycling products makes a positive impact on the environment as items are redesigned, modified or adapted to a new and better purpose. Karen strives to support a global marketplace with exceptional standards of quality and creativity and have her goods represent social awareness. She is proud to run a business that is a purveyor of change in the way it treats this beautiful earth and all those who live on it and she does this by sourcing from providers who are committed to supporting non-profit groups in order to break the cycles of poverty and ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect.

That packs a lot of purpose into shopping and whether or not customers already know that, them entering the store furthers that initiative. As they walk through the doors, shoppers will encounter a very relaxed environment. With an extensive array of products and merchandise, there is no need to hurry; customers are encouraged to take their time to explore and discover every unique piece. Market Earth carries both men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, bags, jewelry, home décor, and gift items. Some of the most popular products are the recycled bags made from upcycled military canvas or water bottles and their BlueQ socks. Karen works on keeping the store’s inventory fresh, up-to-date, and unique by carrying merchandise that you can’t easily find elsewhere. She travels to find new lines, artisan-made pieces, and smaller boutique products that are distinctive and memorable in order to be the “Where’d you get that?!” store.

In addition to being an eco-friendly store in the heart of Fort Myers, Market Earth actively works with and supports many local organizations and charities such as the Gulf Coast Humane Society. They are also an active member of the River District Alliance which helps to bring events to the downtown vicinity, which is continuously growing and transforming. Market Earth is a very proud member of the Fort Myers community and they are open seven days a week, year-round, for all their customers.  “My favorite thing about running Market Earth is meeting thousands of people from all over the world.  We have every demographic shop here and that makes me feel like we just might be doing something right.” Karen

Market Earth

2224 First Street

Ft. Myers, Fl 33901

(239) 226-0006

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