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Former Stoke High School teacher Tracey Goddard opens new Refill Eco shop in Woodbridge after years of dreaming





A former teacher has opened a new sustainability shop in Woodbridge after having been inspired by her students' passion for protecting the planet.

Tracey Goddard, who has been an English and Drama teacher for 12 years, gave up her job at Ipswich 's Stoke High School in June to pursue her dream of opening an environmentally friendly store.

Her dream became a reality on Saturday when the shop, named Refill Eco, opened in the town's Thoroughfare.

Refill Eco has opened in Woodbridge's Thoroughfare
Refill Eco has opened in Woodbridge's Thoroughfare

"I've had the idea for about two years or so but it's not something I necessarily ever thought would happen," said the 37 year old.

"We're very much focused on the refill side of things, so people can bring in their own containers and fill them with things like washing up liquid, cleaning products and hand sanitiser. But we also sell various food products, soaps and things so we hope to expand our offerings as time goes on.

"Our hope is that, in time, it will provide things that you could get at a supermarket."

Tracey Goddard opened the shop on Saturday after years of searching for the right location.
Tracey Goddard opened the shop on Saturday after years of searching for the right location.

Refill pastas, spices, tea and coffee will also be on sale as well as bamboo straws, vegan sweets and chocolates.

Tracey, who is mum to two girls aged seven and eight, said it was her daughters and students who had brought sustainability and protecting the planet to her attention.

"The inspiration came after seeing how eco-minded the students are. They're very aware of plastic waste and what's happening to the planet," she said.

"My youngest daughter has also been studying the environment at school and both my girls really hate waste and the damage we're doing to the planet."

Tracey said the shop's first weekend was very successful
Tracey said the shop's first weekend was very successful

Despite having seen many high street shops fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic, Tracey is hopeful that her store will fill a gap in the market.

"Covid-19 has thrown up a lot of challenges, even down to making sure the shop is safe," she said.

"Although it's a tricky time, people are already very used to social distancing, wearing masks and hand sanitising so that makes it easier.

Customers can bring in their own containers to fill with cleaning products and hand sanitiser.
Customers can bring in their own containers to fill with cleaning products and hand sanitiser.

"Of course there are a few businesses closing down but it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue in Woodbridge. I think people here are very good at supporting local businesses which is great."

And after a successful first weekend, Tracey hopes that the shop will go from strength to strength in coming months.

"The first couple of days have been really positive and people seem to be really interested in what we're doing," she said.

"Woodbridge is a very eco-minded town already which is great and people do a lot to help the environment.

"We're giving it time just now but eventually we'd love to expand our stock and get some staff and all that. It's very exciting."

For now, Refill Eco will be open every day except Tuesday. You can also shop online on the website here .

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