At Home (and business) with Lenora and Keith
Back in 2019 when Process was getting started we met Lenora and Keith through mutual friends. It was an immediate connection with us sharing a common narrative: coastal transplants starting families and businesses in central Wisconsin. Over the last few years our friends Lenora (she/her) and Keith (he/him) have been our biggest fans. The feeling is mutual. We are always impressed with their creative output.
Lenora and Keith are a husband and wife research team and production studio, as well as education philosophers that own Caravan Wine Shop in downtown Stevens Point. Witnessing their journey first hand I thought it would inspire our customers to take a personal look into their process. I spent a Saturday morning with this inspiring duo before they opened their shop to see all the ways in which they live the zero waste lifestyle.
Tell us what inspired you to move to central Wisconsin?
We have paths that started far apart and became intertwined in New York City at a fabulous tapas restaurant named Tia Pol. We met as servers there and immediately started working on a year-long film festival together, started dating, got married, started a historical wine tasting business, got pregnant, then decided to move to Central Wisconsin. We chose Stevens Point because Keith had spent some of his high school years here and had great memories of the downtown being a place of music and culture. We saw Stevens Point as a perfect location to initiate our next huge project- a wine shop that was curated by the stories behind each bottle, rather than ratings.
How have you incorporated low waste practices into your home and business?
Many many ways! First of all, once you start changing products to low waste or bulk, your attention to waste becomes heightened like a new sense. This makes it even easier to determine how to evaluate all your current systems. We have completely switched to all bulk soaps and cleaning products that are used in mason jars fitted with spray tops and pump tops. We use bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner. We have no paper products of any kind and keep a stock of rags for wiping up the constant stream of spills and messes that comes with having two young kiddos. You might think that having the dirty laundry around is unhygienic or smelly. You will be surprised how easy it is to find a laundry bag and a spot for it that is out of sight and easy to get to. It all comes with the mind shift that happens once you decide to make the change. The same goes for our shop, Caravan. We are subscribed to the bulk refill program that keeps us supplied with dish soap, hand soap, and all purpose cleaner. We probably refill it twice a year. We use bamboo tp and supply cloth tp in both our house and our shop. We have been using a cloth diaper bin for both tp and diapers since the beginning. They are cute and totally sanitary. We have cloth paper towels in our bathroom for drying hands. Every single last product and more we got at Process General. On top of all the utilitarian needs, we also have been able to beautify with towels, dishes, bowls, and other accessories.
How has this low waste journey been inspiring to you?
Meeting Rubina and Sheena was another important element to us knowing that we wanted to be a part of the growing community of Central Wisconsin. We had never been exposed to low waste practices in NYC and feel that our lifestyle out here affords us to learn and understand low waste living and practice it much more easily. Honestly, when the pandemic first hit and there was footage all day of grocery stores being cleaned out and people fighting for toilet paper, I remembered the first time I went to Rubina's house and she showed me that she used reusable tp. This was the moment it all clicked for me. There is a way of living that makes you more independent and more secure and is more affordable, AND does not contribute to the speeding decline of our planet. We dove in all the way, and feel grateful for the resources of Process General to show us how to make these changes to our daily lives for the better.
How does low waste inspire your own business choices?
Switching to a low waste lifestyle has introduced a mindset that causes us to ask questions about the ethics of the products we are offering to our community. This has led us to seek out the stories behind the bottles that teach us about sustainability, regeneration, and practices new and old that honor the environment they are using to produce fine wines, beers, and spirits. We see these choices as examples for everyone about how easy and rewarding it can be to live and create thoughtfully. And in the case of Caravan, you can really taste the difference!
We have also been grateful to find how the low waste lifestyle inherently leads you to a more purposeful activist lifestyle which can be supported and grown through their partner Bound to Happen Books. It is a beautiful symbiosis in that building that has inspired lots of collaborations between Caravan and both operations with lots more events about to come down the pipeline! So stay tuned!
Check out a collection of items from the pictures below!
Caravan is located in Downtown Stevens Point on the square. Their beautifully renovated storefront offers tastings every week, new and inspiring collections of spirits, wine and beer are coming in regularly and they also have Instagram "Table Talks" with various characters from our community. They are open 6 days a week til 8pm. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter, follow on instagram and check them out in person at 1221 2nd Street.
Amazing how this non wasting sounds like my grandparents, parents and I have always done. We come from a farm background and have it ingrained to not waste a thing and to reuse and reuse.