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714 e. jefferson blvd.
south bend, in 46617


Just Goods offers fair trade, local-made, made in USA, organic, recycled and green products for the home and for families.  All of our products are sustainably crafted or manufactured.  You will find organic cotton clothing, reusable lunch containers, eco cleaning products, recycled-fiber socks, fair trade coffee, chocolate and gifts.  Together, we are making a difference.


Indiana's Oldest Sustainable Living General Store

Filtering by Category: sustainability

Sustainable Retrofit, roof, hvac, lighting


It's been a few months since we gave you an update.  Lots of work going on here at our old (1874!) building.  The chimney was in dangerously bad shape and would require an expensive rebuild.  Instead, we replaced the 80% efficient furnace with a 95% efficient model.  This cooler-exhausting furnace doesn't require a chimney, so we will be able to recoup our costs in a few years by avoiding the expensive re-build of the chimney, and saving on energy costs.

Location of former chimney, no longer needed due to installation of 95% efficient furnace.

This little vent pipe replaces the crumbling brick chimney because the 95% efficient furnace vents cooler air.

You might notice our new roof is a much lighter color than before.  This will result in lower energy use for summer cooling.  Bonus:  lighter colored shingles last longer!

Light colored shingles reflect sunlight in summer, reducing cooling costs, and last longer than dark colors.

Finally, while we were waiting for the broken a/c unit to be replaced, we took the plunge and replaced our halogen track light bulbs with LED models.  This will also take a few years to recoup the cost, but with bulbs designed to last 10 years or more, we should realize great savings over the long run, not to mention the environmental bonus of saving electricity and cutting down on the heat generated by halogens.

These 13w LEDs replace 75w halogen bulbs in our vintage track lights.

We were glad to find bulbs that worked in our old dimmer track light fixtures.

Let us know what kind of sustainable retrofit you are doing and we'll feature it here next month!

Sustainable Retrofit


We are settling in as building owners here at 714 E. Jefferson Boulevard.  It's a little easier with advice from Elicia Feasel of Sustainable Retrofitting.  Elicia describes herself as, "an advocate for historic buildings."  In developing our plan, she uncovered an old assessors card, which puts the birthdate of our building at 1874! We want to keep you posted on our progress, as we slowly update the interior and exterior of the building in a way that is consistent with Just Goods mission, as Indiana's oldest sustainable living general store.  Look for our blogposts, in our newsletter, and on our facebook page for updates.  If you have ideas, suggestions, or would like to help out in any way, please contact us at


just goods  sr_business card front

The Natural Step


tns_logo Through the work of Mike Keen and the Center for a Sustainable Future at IU South Bend, I was introduced to The Natural Step, an international network of organizations working toward sustainability.  Their "Four Principles of Sustainability" can be applied to your family, your workplace, your city or school.

At Just Goods, we focus on choosing products that meet these criteria, that's what we are all about.  But, we also apply these ideas to just about every decision we make:  marketing, heating/cooling, location, cleaning, use of space, etc.

We'd like to share this chart with you, and continue our conversations with you about sustainability and consumer goods.  You can also watch a 2 minute video and learn more at their website.



Green for Me

Just Goods

How being green can serve me, not just the environment. By Tina Vice

Isn't being green expensive? Time consuming? Isn't it for those stay at home moms that have the luxury of time and extra money?

I'm a single mom, full-time employ, part-time student with an internship.  Recycling was all I could do, OR was it? Truth is that being green can not only fit into your schedule or budget, but can actually help with both.

As a busy mom, who has a messy car strewn with water bottles, sitting in a drive thru, I feel the frustration and guilt of not giving my kids what they really need.  High efficiency washing machines and LED light bulbs are great but where is the lifestyle and habits they the kids need to see in place in our home?  This has been my challenge.

I've realized it has come down to being purposeful and thinking ahead.

Do my children really need plastic bags in their lunches? Not really.  Initially it costs more to buy sustainable lunch bags and to send reusable containers.  What if my first grader loses them?  I need to trust them with this and take a couple of minutes at the end of the day to clean out the containers, but a few plastic bags won't be headed to the landfill.

Does it really save time to buy a fast food meal instead of cooking one?  Think about the drive to the fast food establishment, the time to find a parking spot or to wait in drive thru, the time to order.  Now consider the value of eating at the dinner table at home with no distractions, just conversation.  That can't take place in fast food restaurant or in the car.   What about the time to clean out my car after syrup or ketchup has been bounced around? What did my children get from this? Perhaps, on Saturday mornings (my only free time) I could prepare meals for the week and freeze them?  Thawing a home-cooked meal sounds like less mess and more value.

This week, we will start to do a few simple things at home that will save both time and money and help the environment.  We will take shorter showers.  Also, we don't really need paper towels.  A nice dish cloth at each table setting can be used a few times before it needs to laundered.

As spring approaches and I buy clothes for my children, the first stop will be at a consignment shop.  It saves money and it keeps more from going to a landfill.

When Becky asked me to write a blog about this, it got me thinking about the things I can do that won't require much.  We may even purchase a water filter instead of disposable water bottles next week.  Fuel efficient cars are great but on our budget the smaller changes can take place much sooner.  There is no excuse now to not make some changes toward a greener living. Tina is an IUSB student and a working mom. She is currently interning at Just Goods.

Sustainable Seafood


A friend sent me a link to an article about the best seafood options.  If you eat seafood, there are some ways you can do it most sustainably.  Here's my two-cents on interpreting the article: My favorite seafood choice guidelines come from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It looks like they are referenced in the yahoo article.

My only caution would be to be sure that you are choosing US farmed salmon, as opposed to just any farmed salmon.  I'm not eating seafood anymore, but when I did, farmed salmon made me sick.  Maybe it was imported?  Also, I would be careful to ask about this distinction when ordering at a restaurant.  Restaurants may be using imported farmed salmon.