Conscious Consumption: Tilth & Oak and The Filling Station

In recent years, conscientious shopping has become a marked theme in stores and products around the US. People are beginning to consider the impact of their purchases—is this product wrapped in too much plastic? Is it refillable? Rethinking our buying power has even shifted product availability at retail giants. Shampoo bars and biodegradable bags are popping up on the shelves of major chains. But retail giants can’t beat one thing for the conscientious consumer: shopping locally. 

Supporting local business is both a community investment and eco-friendly habit.

Your locally owned businesses keep taxes close to home and offer employment opportunities for your neighbors. From an environmental standpoint, small businesses often feature local products, requiring less transportation and less waste. For someone seeking to make more ethical and community based purchases, shopping local is a no-brainer. Luckily for Benicians, we have two new businesses offering an array of green products and refillable goods: Tilth & Oak and The Filling Station.

Tilth and Oak founders pointing to their shop sign

Tilth & Oak started during the pandemic.

Like many, co-owner Michael Davis was laid off due to lack of work. His wife and co-owner, Bobby Crawford explained, “During his sabbatical from a regular 9-5, he started creating handmade gifts to sell online. A few months later, the concept of Tilth and Oak was born!” Davis created a website with curated and sustainable goods. His website became so successful that a thought crossed their minds: “This could really make a mark on our community!” And thus began the search for a retail space. Davis and Crawford decided on Benicia because they “fell in love with the people and charm” and knew Benicians would appreciate their mission of supporting local businesses and sustainability.

Tilth & Oak’s core value of sustainability is emblematic of the conscious consumption trend appearing across the states. Crawford says, “Our business model is an emerging concept throughout the country. We personally try to live by our core values and wanted to share that within our store. As the world shifts to more eco-friendly products for our planet, we want to be Solano and Wine Country’s destination for sustainable goods.”

Shoppers at Tilth & Oak can find artisanal products from other local businesses, a refill bar, reusable paper towels, eco-friendly home cleaning products, and even curbside compost solutions. Tilth & Oak is located in the Raley’s Southampton Shopping Center at 880 Southampton Road and is open Tuesday through Sunday.

The Filling Station owner in front of her products

Down the way, above the Chamber of Commerce on First Street is The Filling Station, Benicia’s new sustainable gift shop.

Owner Kristen is a Benicia native with a lasting childhood vision of entrepreneurship. She recalls, “I have always dreamed of opening a business. When I was 9, I saw a classified ad for a frozen yogurt machine with my dad. He said, ‘We should open a shop!’ While it never happened, the idea of business ownership never left my mind.” While Kristen knew she someday wanted to own a business, she spent years working in data analytics and sales. Her career in sales familiarized her with the market and the dos and don’ts of boutique ownership. When her job came to an end, she reflected on her future career goals and landed on the guiding words of “community” and “entrepreneurship.” 

 When the owner of Benicia’s long beloved gift shop, Romancing the Home, passed away, Kristen knew she wanted to offer another source of gifts and household goods. Her store would offer locally sourced and American made products, goods from businesses that employ individuals with special needs, and eco-friendly items. Her decision to include a refill station came after her frequent trips across the bridge to a local zero-waste store. She wanted to bring the ease and eco-friendliness of refillable goods to Benicia, sans bridge toll. 

Kristen acknowledges that sustainability can seem daunting when considering the many products we use on a daily basis.

She explains, “I’m all about one step at a time. If you think about sustainability, it’s overwhelming. We can make small changes that can make a difference. My goal is to take the thought out of it and have you know that coming to me [The Filling Station], I’ve thought through 90% of the decisions that you might find overwhelming.” 

The Filling Station’s current location at 601 First Street, Suite 250-D will be switching to a street level location on First Street at the beginning of 2023. Keep your eyes peeled on their social media (instagram @tfs_goods_and_gifts) to find out where!