Create & Cultivate 100: Entrepreneur: Rachel Krupa

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Spaces and places help make us. At least, this is part of the philosophy behind The Goods Mart, Rachel Krupa’s brainchild.

Dubbed the “7-Eleven for All You Organic People” by The New York Times, The Goods Mart is disrupting the traditional convenience store model with socially-conscious products made easily accessible through reimagined community spaces. Because even in an on-demand economy, people still crave community—or at least a place to pick up the snacks they crave or quickly grab pantry staples. As of 2019, The Goods Mart has two brick-and-mortar locations in New York and Los Angeles, and its accessible-good-for-you-food movement is only getting started.

While many people think of good ideas, Rachel Krupa is someone who not only thinks of them, but acts on them. She spent over a decade building a career in PR with an emphasis on food and wellness, which made for a strong foundation for her “a-ha” moment with The Goods Mart. She kept imagining a “better-for-you-7-Eleven,” and because it didn’t exist yet...she built it. She’s got Big Entrepreneur Energy and isn’t afraid to show it.

The Goods Mart was recently named “A 7-Eleven for All You Organic People” by the New York Times. NBD. How did Goods Mart manifest from an idea to real life?

I feel everything that I’ve done in my life has brought me to The Goods Mart—from growing up in small town Michigan and working in the hospitality industry both as a server and publicist to launching a countless number of startups in the food and wellness space. When I first had the idea of opening a better-for-you 7-11, I started to tell friends, and they all seemed to think it was a good idea, so I toyed with the idea more and talked about it more frequently. I believe there are two types of people: talkers and doers. I’m a doer, so after telling so many people, I HAD TO OPEN the store.

Your LA Goods Mart location accepts EBT cards. Why was ensuring this level of accessibility important for you?

By accepting EBT, we’re able to further our mission to make better options more available, it was a small step to make BIG change for everyone! The week we opened in Silver Lake, a customer asked us if we accepted EBT and told me why it was so important to her. I’m very grateful for that amazing mom who fueled our mission to accept EBT/Snaps.

When did your entrepreneurial journey start? Were you thinking of business ideas as a child?

My parents were very hardworking and instilled a strong work ethic in me. I never thought of myself as entrepreneur, just as a hard worker. I’ve always been a very independent person and have always wanted to do more, learn more, and rarely take no for an answer. I LOVE making people smile and shaping conversation to evoke change. A guiding principle in my life has always been, “If you’re not happy, why are you doing it?” When I was younger, my parents called me a serial intern: I interned at my university’s event department, in D.C. with a congressmen, at Michigan’s Democratic Constituent Relations office, and at Major League Baseball in New York, which led me to my internship with Lizzie Grubman PR, the catalyst for my PR career over 15 years ago. OMG! I never had a yearning to start my own PR agency, but in early 2010, I felt burned out, so I started Krupa Consulting as a bridge to what I was going to do next. But then clients and friends kept referring incredible business my way, hence, the true birth of Krupa Consulting. Eight years later, I wasn’t feeling burned out. I was just yearning to “Do More” and help change the food system. Enter The Goods Mart.

What about your job makes you feel the most fulfilled?

Two fold answer: Educating consumers/customers on new products or switching their perspective on things. I also LOVE working with and talking to our customers at the store, seeing people come in, discovering new products, or just feeling great about paying only $1.25 for a cup of coffee. It’s incredible. Also helping to build a community around the store is rewarding beyond words.

When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find a new road + switch gears to find success?

It’s about making mistakes so you can learn from them. When bumps or hurdles happen, I like to think about what caused the problem and how can we resolve it. It’s about working through the WHY.

Who are the first three people you think an entrepreneur should hire?

Every entrepreneur should evaluate their strengths and weaknesses… it’s about putting together a team that accentuates one another. I’m also a believer in finding an amazing assistant to help keep you organized and be better.

If you don’t try, how do you know? You will spend days, months, or years wondering… what if… stop that and just DO!

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What’s the best piece of #realtalk advice you’ve ever been given?

If you don’t try… how do you know? You will spend days, months, or years wondering… what if… stop that and just DO!

Who inspired you the most in your life growing up?

My parents – they busted their butts to make sure I could do everything I wanted to do.

What keeps you up at night?

Ideas… things I want to do with The Goods, my clients at Krupa, and for my teams.

Whose career really inspires you?

Oh, that’s a tough one… I don’t have one person, but multiple clients that hustle and grind each day to make their business the best rock. Christina Tosi really sticks out. She’s the definition of hustler. She has built an INCREDIBLE business and never seems to run out of energy! She’s in the business of putting smiles on people's face one cookie, truffle, or cake at a time!

What has been your biggest opportunity or biggest challenge?

My biggest opportunity and biggest challenge are the same: to create a new category in retail—a natural convenience store that is accessible!

What are the common challenges you've seen among female business owners and entrepreneurs?

Confidence in yourself and confidence in your idea and business.

What are you most excited for in 2019?

I’m so excited to continue to expand The Goods Mart, open new stores, help launch new products, and introduce our customers their new favorite snacks!!! 2019 is also going to be an amazing year for Krupa Consulting… we have an incredible team and new clients starting this year that will only make our company better!

Photography by Annie McElwain Photography

Photoshoot skincare provided by Dermalogica