Business Profile
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • October 2010
Written by  J.C. Paustian

Just Act Natural – Eco-Friendly Store in Downtown Appleton

There’s a growing movement in the country with people switching over to eco-friendly products, but the common complaint is that people are getting frustrated with what is truly a green product.

At Just Act Natural, the homework is done for the customer so they don’t get drawn into a "greenwashed" product. The definition of greenwashing is: "disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image."

Just Act Natural is the Fox Valley’s first and only all-green goods store. It offers organic cotton clothing and accessories, natural body care, non-toxic cleaners, reusable bags and bottles, housewares, toys, cards and stationery, gifts and more.

"Our store is founded on the principle that the choices we make everyday have a lasting impact on the immediate environment we live in and the greater world around us," said J.C. Paustian, who is co-owner, along with his wife, Dianne.

The Paustians have been delivering this message for nearly a year and a half since their store opened in April 2009. They have been rewarded in many ways since then, but the two accolades that mean the most to date are being awarded the 2010 New Business of the Year, presented by Appleton Downtown, Inc., and being given the right to use the Green America Seal of Approval.

"It’s a great honor to be voted the downtown’s new business of the year because it’s your peers who are voting for you," said J.C. "It’s an even greater honor to be an approved Green America business, because the application and screening process is very extensive, and it gives our business instant national credibility within the green industry."

As part of the Green America Seal of Approval, Just Act Natural needed to provide the criteria it uses for selecting vendors to work with. There are several that they use, and one of the most important tools in researching products is the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database (http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com). This non-profit, watchdog group tests and rates body care products using a "hazard scale" from 0 to 10, with 0 being the best and 10 being very hazardous to your health. Everything on the shelves at Just Act Natural ranks 0-3 on this scale, according to J.C.

Other certifications the Paustians look for are USDA Organic, Organic Trade Association, Global Organic Textile Standard, Leaping Bunny, Forest Stewardship Council, The Institute for Marketecology, Fair Labor Association and Fair Trade Certified.

"We want people to feel that they don’t have to do the extra research in buying a safe, healthy, green product because it’s already been done for them," said Dianne.

Just Act Natural is located at 129 E. College Ave., in downtown Appleton. Store hours are: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm; Saturday 10am – 4pm; closed Sundays. For more information, visit http://www.justactnatural.com; find them on Facebook and Twitter; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call 920-574-2932.

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