After spotting a gap in the market in the area, husband and wife Tyroshan and Ayesha Attidi Panagoda decided to open their very own plastic-free, zero-waste store in Perth.
The couple and business owners, who are both from Sri Lanka and now reside in Dundee, grew up in environments that promoted sustainable living.
But as Tyroshan, 36, and Ayesha, 30, struggled to find items with plastic-free packaging in or around their new home town, in Scotland, they were determined to start working on their new business concept, which was to become Tay Larder.
The zero-waste store is now the only one of its kind in Perth and took just one month to complete after work commenced in April.
Tyroshan and Ayesha uprooted to Scotland in January 2020. As soon as they arrived, their entrepreneurial mindsets kicked in.
They launched their first firm, Ceylon 35, during the first coronavirus lockdown, which involved them importing high-quality single-origin spices from Sri Linka and selling them online.
It wasn’t until April this year that they started working on introducing Tay Larder to the Perth community. “It was a struggle to get any plastic-free packaging here,” Ayesha said.
“After speaking to our wholesale suppliers (for Ceylon 35), who are predominantly zero-waste shops across the UK, we realised that introducing one ourselves was the right thing to do.
“Tyroshan and I felt that Perth was crying out loud for a zero-waste plastic-free shop, so we took that chance to fill the gap. And now, we are the only one in the city.
“Sustainable living is something that has been drilled into me since I was little. My parents were great examples of this. Even back home, where things are a lot different from here, we still try our hardest to recycle and reuse.
Tyroshan and I felt that Perth was crying out loud for a zero-waste plastic-free shop, so we took that chance to fill the gap.”
Ayesha Attidi Panagoda.
“Plastic pollution is everywhere and I know that we can do more to help.”
Change is not impossible
The pair hope that the opening of the store encourages more people to not only be more environmentally conscious but also support local businesses.
Tyroshan said: “Tay Larder offers customers the chance to shop package-free products (loose). They have to bring their own jars, containers and bottles to fill up with what they need.
“The store has a large range of products. We have your basic grocery items such as rice, flour, pasta, beans and pulses, a selection of teas, nuts and seeds, and cleaning products. There’s also a small range of organic fruits and vegetables.”
Ayesha added: “Tyroshan and I try to source our range from local small businesses. We make sure that suppliers are the same as us and support eco-friendly sustainable living.
“If you shop with us, you are supporting other small local businesses as well.
“The best part is shopping in a zero-waste store is that you’re doing it with no plastic waste. Change is hard but not impossible. Now that we are here, you have a choice.”
Proud of the journey
Ayesha went on to say that no one else had any input in the layout of the store or what it offered. “Tyroshan and I started to work on Tay Larder in early April and did all the work by ourselves,” she added.
“We used quite a lot of second-hand furniture and flooring. Everything was a completely new experience or a learning curve for both of us.
We are constantly looking to improve the store by widening our selection and introducing a click and collect service.”
Tyroshan Attidi Panagoda.
“The pair of us are very proud of the brand we have built – and this is purely because we did everything alone.
“Every little detail in the shop is our hard work and commitment. We enjoy it very much when customers in Perth praise us for having open the shop so they can help the community to tackle plastic waste. The feedback has been absolutely fantastic.”
Tyroshan added: “We are constantly looking to improve the store by widening our selection and introducing a click and collect service.
“We want everyone to know that we are here and are taking this opportunity to make a small change towards a plastic-free Perth.”