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NewsUnwrapped in Asbury Park: Refill your plastics and save...

Unwrapped in Asbury Park: Refill your plastics and save the earth one bottle at a time


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ASBURY PARK – Sarah Devin didn’t have experience owning her own business when she started Unwrapped in Asbury Park, but she did always have a knack for recycling and being eco-friendly. And that’s paid off for her store.

“From growing up in Metuchen, we were always very environmentally conscious,” Devin said. “My parents and I recycled everything, even when there wasn’t recycling in the town we lived in. We found ways to recycle anything we could, including dropping off glass bottles and newspapers. I have always had that awareness and I have tried to put it to good use.”

In 2019, Devin was doing her daily recycling and came to a realization that the practice of recycling itself just didn’t seem to be working.

“It occurred to me that recycling just doesn’t work anymore,” Devin said. “All the plastic in the world still exists and, as I was looking at my shampoo bottle, I thought to myself, I wish I could just take this somewhere and get it refilled, instead of going and buying a new bottle of shampoo.

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“I kind of tucked that idea away, until the beginning in 2020, when I was talking to my daughter and she told me that there was a shop by her, where she goes and gets things like shampoo, detergent and other liquids refilled in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” Devin said.

“I went up there and visited the store, Cleenland, and spoke to the owner, Sarah (Levy). She encouraged me to start doing exactly what she was doing because there were no businesses like hers anywhere near the Jersey Shore. Everybody I told thought it was a good idea and that was the official beginning of my business to start refilling those products.”

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Finding their audience

Devin and her son James started their business, Unwrapped, at the Farmer’s Market in Kennedy Park of Asbury Park on Sundays beginning in April 2020.

“We did reach a definite audience there,” Devin said. “People found us there and it was a great experience. We drew in enough people that we thought to ourselves, ‘What will happen when the Farmer’s Market ends?’ We realized people will be looking for their refills and we would need a store that is open on a more permanent basis.

“During that time, COVID-19 was happening and, as an outside business in that environment, Unwrapped was no longer able to stay open in that location,” Devin said. “We were down, but not out at that time and, luckily we got a break because a restaurant, Cross and Orange, allowed us to open back up in their space. We are very grateful to them for that opportunity and it really helped us stay in business.”

They stayed there until November 2020 and found a spot located in The Shoppes at the Arcade right off Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park.

“We opened up that location and, by that time, we had a lot of people that were really happy to find us,” Devin said. “Some customers had been looking for a shop like us before and others happened to wander in and were pleasantly surprised to find us in that space.

“We also had a lot of customers from the Farmer’s Market that followed us from that point in time,” Devin said. “They were wondering when we would be back open in Kennedy Park and they were glad to hear that we were in a new location, but were that same business.”

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Bigger purpose

Unwrapped’s purpose is to end single-use plastics. Customers that come into the store have the option to bring in a plastic container and refill it with products like soaps, detergent and other related cleaning products sold at the store itself. Customers can also buy sealed containers of that same type of product from the store as well.

“We really feel like it’s a great business,” Devin said. “Customers can come in as much as they want and refill their desired product as much as they want or to their heart’s content. We are doing great things for recycling and for the environment by reusing their own plastic containers. We feel like we are making a difference with this business and serving a higher purpose.”

Devin and her son hope more people join them in that attitude.

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“Right now, we are not paying ourselves for the profit we are making from the business,” Devin said. “All of the money we make has gone into growing the business by replacing the product and expanding the inventory. When we do get to doing the business full-time, we will really be at our best and will reach the pinnacle of our success.”


Location: 658 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park

Phone: 732-713-6945

Website: unwrapped.earth

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays; 1:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Source: Asbury Park

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