GreenTown Los Altos

GreenTown Spotlight: Los Altos’ Sweet Shop IS Green


Oct 2012


If you haven’t been to the Sweet Shop on Los Altos Avenue, what are you waiting for? With its relaxing atmosphere for enjoying delectable sweet treats, coffee or lunch, its profits going to local schools and sustainable practices paying homage to our environment, it’s more than worth stopping by.

Owners Stacy and Pete Sullivan established the Sweet Shop as a community-gathering place [Stacy also wanted to continue the tradition of a candy shop from when she was a child, the building housed a mini mart, she frequented for treats on the way home from school], but built it with a strong environmental ethic.

Everything — from the building and landscape design to packaging and product sourcing — is done with an eye toward sustainability in key areas of building and landscaping; compostables; and local sourcing of ingredients.

Building and Landscape Design

  • Permeable concrete, parking area, absorbing rainwater from roof and paving, as well as oils from cars. This limits runoff onto the street and eventually into our creeks and the bay, minimizing silt and pollutants into the bay. All other storm water drainage is piped to drywells on the site, to reduce off-site runoff.
  • Solar panels on the building’s roof generate much of the Sweet Shop’s electricity demand, reducing its environmental impact.
  •  Two operable skylights provide natural lighting and ventilation as much as much as possible. When built in 2007, fluorescent ambient lighting was used throughout the shop, according to Pete they are now moving towards LED lighting.
  • Water is purified by Source One for all appliances, assuring customers the cleanest water possible in all products.
  • Customer bathroom includes a Toto leading edge low-water EMAX flushing toilet, again conserving water. An electrical hand dryer eliminates paper waste.
  • Wall and floor tiles are made of recycled materials and naturally renewable materials made primarily from silica sand, an abundant natural resource.
  • Landscaped garden includes mostly drought resistant plants. The irrigation system is architected to save water with a combination of drip and low volume spray heads plus ground moisture sensors, applying water only when the soil is dry and plants need irrigation.
  • The courtyard fountain provides the appearance of “natural pond” with sculptural frogs, birds and a hippopotamus to convey a message that nature is to be appreciated. The owners hope this sparks a subconscious interest from our younger generation to learn more about the more natural world.
  • Glass candy jars ensure non toxicity to the raw candy. Jar lids are handmade locally.

Compostable Packaging

  • All disposable cups, plates, napkins, straws, candy bags and spoons are biodegradable and/or compostable made with potato, sugar or corn.

Locally Sourced Ingredients

Manager, Sandra Colunga, sources as many products as possible from local and organic sources.

  • Sweet Shop coffee is roasted in Santa Cruz
  • Most chocolates are from San Francisco
  • Baked goods come from Los Gatos and San Mateo
  • Milk and milk products are sourced from Petaluma in Sonoma County.

In addition coffee grounds from the shop are offered free to customers, for use in their gardens or compost bins, as well as for acid loving plants in their courtyard garden.

A trip to the Sweet Shop is an enjoyable family outing, where everyone gets a sweet deal.

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