September 30, 2014

How a Bed and Breakfast Became One of America’s Greenest Businesses

Milkweed Merchantile Eco InnEdit

There are several reasons to consider creating a greener business.

They can include things like saving money and, of course, just a basic concern for the environment.

But Kurt Kessner and Alline Anderson (pictured above), co-owners of the Milkweed Merchantile Eco Inn and Organic Cafe, have  discovered there is something more. It can be a profitable way to distinguish your business, too.

The inn is built with reclaimed wood and insulated with straw bales (a waste product from local farmers). The roof is made of metal from recycled cars and is designed to  collect rainwater for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Food served at the bed and breakfast and at the environmentally friendly cafe is organic and most comes from local farmers. One specialty is the cafe’s signature pizza served every Wednesday. The pizza features dough and even feta and mozzarella cheese made locally.

And all vehicles in the inn’s compound are either 100 percent biodiesle or electric.

See more about the Milkweed Merchantile in the YouTube video created to showcase the business below.

The environmentally friendly bed and breakfast recently was named one of the nation’s top three green businesses for travel and transportation by Green America.

The national non-profit supports environmentally friendly businesses with an annual People & Planet Award recognizing the nation’s top 12 environmentally and socially responsible businesses.

Owners Kessner and Anderson received a $5000 prize in addition to the recognition.

Anderson says the money will be invested to continue the business’s growth which, she says, includes education of consumers and others.

Anderson told Green America on the organization’s official Website:

“The funds will go a long way in our efforts to demonstrate that a sustainable life is about joy, community, a real sense of connection, hope, and of course, great food!”

She said one goal was to further promote the business’s branded line of jams and pickles created with ingredients from local farmers and gardeners.

Bottom line: you may never have thought of creating a greener business as a form of marketing. But Kessner and Anderson’s experience proves this approach can be a simple solution when targeting the right customers.

Image: Milkweed Merchantile

4 Comments ▼

Shawn Hessinger - Editor


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Editor for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and social media networker with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business before moving to the digital world. He was the former community manager of BizSugar and the former community editor at AllAnalytics, a site dedicated to professionals in the business intelligence and analytics community.

4 Reactions

  1. It’s nice to hear that businesses like these get rewarded. After all, they deserve all the rewards in the world for going the extra mile in providing services that are purely environmentally friendly. I hope that they recognize more businesses like these.

  2. Love it! They more than deserve that award for the effort they’ve put in. Looks like a great place to stay. I hardly watch TV anyway, so it’s not something I’d miss if I stayed there.

    p.s: pizza’s served every Thursday, I believe, not Wednesdays (2:09 in the vid).

    • Me too. Plus having a staycation does not need a TV anyway. It is just a great way to spend some time with a loved one or with some family and friends.

      • When I went to Greece some years’ ago, there wasn’t a TV in the hotel, and I didn’t miss it. Not one bit. There was so much to do, so much to see, so much beauty/nature to admire.

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