Por Onza, a sustainable, package-free shop is slated to open in the southwestern town of Cabo Rojo to offer a variety of locally harvested products, owner Wilvette González confirmed.
The concept is about letting customers buy the products in bulk, which they will pack in their own reusable containers, González said.
“Each person will serve themselves, however many ounces they want,” she said in an interview with this media outlet, adding the business will only provide compostable bags for dehydrated fruit already packaged.
The small shop, to be located at the Cabo Rojo market square, will occupy about 80 square-feet and will feature a wall of coffee, spices, legumes, personal hygiene and cleaning products, González said.
“This is an eco-friendly concept. Any packaging the person has at home, they can use. We don’t want them to go out and buy new ones and generate trash,” she said, adding there will be about 20 product options in jars on the wall, accessible to customers.
Por Onza has been two years in the making, and was set to open late last month, right before the islandwide lock-down went into effect in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wanted to create something that didn’t generate trash or used plastic,” she said. “I didn’t want to wait any longer to launch,” she said. “The concept is ready to open, and we’re ready.”
The bulk of the investment, about $1,000, went into buying the inventory of products, all of which is procured from local suppliers and micro-businesses, she said.
“This is what I love the most about my concept. I made sure about that, as bringing products from outside Puerto Rico would have been extremely difficult because of the low quantities,” González said. “We worked with local producers, four of them — one from Lajas, one from Cabo Rojo, one from Ponce and another from Mayagüez.”
As the Por Onza shop prepares to open, González said she is betting on a customer base in the area that is “open to change. I hope people choose this lifestyle.”
She said in terms of pricing, she said her structure for spices and other products is “below what is charged in grocery stores, by about .5 cents. So, in terms of price viability, I’m below market prices, which is the value of buying in bulk.”
Looking ahead, the 30-year-old entrepreneur is planning to increase the product options, with the possibility of looking beyond Puerto Rico to get them.