Elizabeth Kemler wanted a shop that would feel like home. She envisioned a space with relaxing music and bohemian decor that enveloped visitors as they entered, and to quickly shake away the chilly distance that normally lingers between purveyor and customer. For her, a shop should be less about buying and more about relaxing. This was the vision she brought to her new shop in Cross River, The Sustainable Haven.

On one end of the space, there is a long wooden table with ample seating for many telecommuters and parents looking for respite. In a nearby corner there are large pillows and bean bags draped in handstitched colorful fabrics. On the opposing side stands the cafe itself, serving up fresh coffee along with tasty bites to compliment that java kick. Elizabeth designed this space to beckon the customer to pull up a chair and have a seat. As they relax, they can browse a plethora of hand-woven rugs, fashionable bags, and charming housewares decorated along the walls.

Sustainability at the Core

As the name suggests, sustainability is also an important focus on many items and services at The Sustainable Haven. Each product display prominently spotlights the good work that many of these companies do. For example, Achiote creates handbags that “follow Fair Trade Principles while showcasing ancestral craftsmanship” in rural Guatemala. Many other companies, such as the comfortable blankets from Slate & Salt or the colorful wooden game sets by Wolfum, create their products using environmentally responsible materials, with respectful deference to fair trade and the honoring of cultures throughout the world. For Kemler, it was important to feature not just quality products, but brands that give back.

The Yellow Monkey Village

The Sustainable Haven can be found on Route 35 at the ever-hip and always welcoming Yellow Monkey Village. This collective of shops has become a beloved staple in the Cross River community for some time, featuring an eclectic array of shops, spas, art therapy services, and more. For Kemler, The Sustainable Haven is an ideal addition to the neighborhood, and she appreciates the sense of community and teamwork that she shares with her neighbors in the Yellow Monkey Village.