Our Environment, Animal Tips & the Great Outdoors

Guido’s Fresh Marketplace: Shopping Done Locally and Sustainably

By Published On: July 28th, 2023

With Plastic Free July coming to a close, now is the perfect time to take a look at another local business doing their part in reducing plastic waste production and taking a comprehensive approach to environmental action. This month, we’ve covered the Rural Center Refillery in Pine Plains, NY, and the Berkshire Food Co-op in Great Barrington, MA; today, we’re taking a dive into Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, which has locations in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, MA.

Guido’s illustrates the many ways that businesses can be mindful of their ecological impact and make decisions for the benefit of both the environment and the consumer. I spoke with Guido’s Marketing and Communications Director Alana Chernila about the market’s commitment to sustainability and the assortment of practices they have implemented in recent years.

As their website describes, Guido’s began as a seasonal roadside market in Pittsfield, founded by brothers Chris and Matt Masiero in 1979. However, this endeavor rapidly expanded, leading the first Guido’s store location to open in 1983. This “old-world style food emporium” would soon see a second location open in 1995, but with this expansion, the marketplace’s core framework would endure. The Guido’s website underscores their dedication to obtaining “the freshest, highest quality products from Lenox to Lyon,” all in an effort to support the well-being of the local community.

To Guido’s, supporting environmentally conscious measures is central to achieving these aims: “We have a responsibility to our communities, customers, staff, and vendors. As climate change progresses, it’s clear this isn’t a choice—it’s a necessity,” Alana explains.

Some of the main environmental initiatives Guido’s has welcomed in recent years have been the result of Great Barrington bylaws banning single-use plastic bags (2013) and single-use plastic water bottles (2018). “We’ve been grateful for the push these bylaws have provided, and both times we embraced the bylaws, spoke out in support of them, and enacted them not only in our Great Barrington store, but our Pittsfield store as well,” notes Alana.

With this, Guido’s has installed water bottle fillers in both of their locations, and Alana points out that they’ve seen a hopeful increase in the number of reusable bags being brought into their store. “Ten years ago, very few people brought their own bags, but now so many people do! It’s a slow process, but it’s really wonderful to see the changes happen.”

At checkout, Guido’s uses boxes to pack groceries; as of September 1st, they will actually be removing paper bags, making for an entirely bag-free checkout. Furthermore, whenever it is feasible, Guido’s uses paper over plastic packaging. The marketplace has tested out alternatives like compostable produce bags and sustainable bulk packaging to store food in an eco-friendly manner. “Some alternatives have worked well and others haven’t, but we’re always looking for new options to try out in the store. It’s a tough conundrum, because plastic does such a great job of keeping food fresh! But our hope is that new packaging options will continue to emerge,” Alana says.

In the bulk department, people can fill their own containers with the products they need, which helps in reducing the consumption of packaging materials, too. On the whole, Guido’s strives “to use less plastic while still keeping food fresh and beautiful,” Alana adds. “We also do a lot of customer education around the reusables we have in the store, and how to shop with less plastic.”

These considerations even come into play when determining what Guido’s will sell. “We look for vendors who are being creative with their sustainable packaging, and when we’re deciding what to carry, packaging decisions are a big factor.” In taking careful note of their vendors, Alana explains, Guido’s also “support[s] local farms that are helping to steward the land.”

Additionally, to eliminate food waste, the market pays close attention to the orders they place, ensuring that their approach is constantly remaining efficient and improving where it can. Food at Guido’s is redirected away from the waste bin in a number of key ways as well. Alana describes, “We give scraps to local farmers, donate food, and use seconds (less beautiful fruit and vegetables) in our cafés and kitchens.”

A thorough recycling program and solar power arrays at both locations top off this range of sustainable implementations.

Guido’s recognizes their role in the greater issue of environmental sustainability and will continue to act on this awareness. “Our hope is that we can normalize sustainability measures, even making them fun or attractive for customers who might not be used to them,” Alana says. “We understand that we have a voice and a responsibility to do and model the right thing! It’s a strong part of our mission.”

Guido’s Fresh Marketplace

1020 South St.
760 South Main St. Pittsfield, MA 01201
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 442-9912
(413) 528-9255

Monday through Saturday, 9am-7pm Sunday, 10am-6pm

(Photos courtesy of Guido’s Fresh Marketplace)