- Location: Chicago, Illinois and online
- Website: grasshopper510.com
- Founded by: Jean Taylor
Curious about the name? The grasshopper symbolizes prosperity, wisdom and a leap of faith; 510 represents the wavelength measurement in nanometers for the color green. Grasshopper 510 has a bit of everything for everyone - children's organic clothing and toys, repurposed jewelry, locally made soy candles, a wide range of eco-friendly house wares and bamboo furniture. This place is a must-stop shop for environmental housewares that you can feel good about giving (or keeping).
Husband-and-wife team Jean Taylor and Mike Roberts decided to take their eco-friendly lifestyle and turn it into a business. After a year of looking for space they opened their doors on May 14.
The owners look for things made of recycled materials such as glass and metals, as well as items made out of ecologically responsible fibers, such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and reclaimed and FSC-certified wood. They also try to use vendors who reduce their manufacturing footprint by using renewable energy sources, reducing wasteful byproducts, and reusing scrap materials.
Much of the art is made from reclaimed materials and repurposed such as bags made from candy wrappers, metal scrap made into bowls, and picture frames made of reclaimed lumber and ceiling tiles.
There are little signs scattered throughout the store explaining how a material was recycled, where it came from, or even a cute story about how one of the artists found the metal scraps for his bowl in a dumpster.
One of the fun items that really stuck out where the platters made out of recycle traffics signs (that can also double as art) made by Boris Bally - there were even coasters and key chains made from the left-over road sign scrap.
Children's toys and baby's clothing occupy the rear section of the store. Standouts were organic cotton onesies and a toy tea set made out of recycled milk jugs by Green Toys.
The owners tried to avoid as much waste as possible in their renovation of the space and used environmentally friendly materials throughout. They kept the all the built-ins and furnishings that they could from the former tenant. Thrift store finds and a locally made reclaimed wood table displays goods beautifully.
Prices are reasonable - there is a section dedicated to gifts under $30, such as notebooks, candles and organic cotton napkins. The upper end of the price range was $600 for a bamboo stool and $690 for a bamboo chair.
Of course we couldn't leave without buying some gifts – A birthday card by Round Robin Press made with embedded Wildflower seeds ($6.50), and a Tenth & Grant notebook made with recycled paper and soy inks ($15)!
Out-of-towners will get their chance at the shops goods - the couple plan on setting up shop online sometime in October, before the holidays. In the mean time, check out their website.