Natural order

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When Steve and Heather Johnson decided to live a greener lifestyle, they discovered an odd paradox: it's fairly easy to make the commitment, but surprisingly difficult to find earth-friendly products in Columbus. After years of struggling, they opened a one-stop green shop in Dublin this fall.

Their "eco-lifestyle store," Generation Green, offers day-to-day necessities like hair-care products alongside decorative art, gadgets and housewares.

"If it's new, fun, green and stylish, we want to have it here," said co-owner Heather Johnson.

The cozy boutique near Trader Joe's on Sawmill Road greets visitors with pea-green walls and bamboo flooring. An assortment of handbags immediately catches the eye, with ComFest staples like woven-hemp totes as well as shoulder bags made from recycled plastic bottles offering punchy colors and sleek, functional designs.

Handmade, vegetable-dyed bags from Noon Solar come with a thin solar panel integrated into the design to charge a cell phone or iPod, and Generation Green sells a similar solar-powered charger that hangs from a carabiner.

"The same excitement we have when we find these products, our customers feel too," she said.

Investigating noses will find all-natural soy candles and color-splashed goat's milk bar soap in delightful aromas like frankincense and myrrh or lavender-mint. Fiery glassware and technicolor bowls made from old magazines are sprawled across tree stumps and salvaged tables in the back of the store.

Placards and handwritten signs around the store point out the benefits of green products like organic cotton towels or Klean Kanteen steel water bottles, one of Generation Green's biggest sellers.

"If something is handmade and local, that's a shade of green. If it's recycled or reused, that's even better," Heather said.

Many of Generation Green's decorative pieces are fair-trade goods, so purchasing them benefits the artisans living in villages around the world. From recycled jewelry to kid-safe toys and Christmas knickknacks, gift-worthy options abound inside the store.

Generation Green's merchandise continues to evolve, but regulars already stop by for household items such as biodegradable plastic-like bags or low-waste toothbrushes, Steve said.

Contrary to what some may think, living green doesn't cost a lot more greenbacks, he said. And it doesn't mean sacrificing your sense of style, either, Heather added.

"A lot of people think green products are mostly bland and boring, but there are a lot of stylish recycled products out there," she said.

Generation Green

6375 Sawmill Rd., Dublin