Michelle M. Czarka, owner and proprietor of Pantry Products, has always believed if you have a good idea, a good product and are a good person, the Reno/Tahoe community will get behind you.
Czarka embodies that trifecta as evidenced by her growing business, Pantry Products, a modern apothecary offering all-natural skin and body care products handcrafted in Reno, Nev.
As a result of a yoga mat in need of cleaning and the inability to find a natural, safe cleaning product for it, Czarka started her business in her kitchen in 2015. Fast forward to 2018 and she has three storefront locations (two in Reno and one in Brooklyn, NY), products sold in numerous local shops and shipping nation and worldwide.
“Pantry Products started accidentally,” she said. “I was going to yoga, my mat got dirty and I wasn’t finding a mat spray that I liked. I looked online for how to clean it and found inspiration for essential oils and natural products and it grew from there.”
In fall 2015, Czarka was approached by The Basement at 50 W. Virginia after one of the founders saw Pantry Products’ page on Etsy. Czarka was asked if she was interested in taking part in a “crazy adventure.” She did and she signed a lease on a 190 square-foot vault location in The Basement.
“I took a tour and saw the Vault and figured as long as I could pay my rent and make my products in there why not?” she said. “We opened in December 2015 and then moved into a larger location in The Basement in October 2016.”
The Wells location opened in March 2018.
Local Supports Local
Aside from making 100 percent of her products in her shops in Reno, Czarka embodies local in every way she can. From photography, to product containers and using the local co-op to always welcoming customer feedback and product ideas, Pantry Products is doing its part to support the local economy and community.
“We are creating great products and it brightens my heart every day when someone comes in and says ‘I have to tell you I love this product,’” she said. “I know I love the products and so do the employees but to hear the community get behind it is amazing. There’s complete transparency in our ingredients and the community sees and appreciates that.”
The Reno/Tahoe market is a great mix of locals and those who come to visit and want to take a piece of Reno home with them, Czarka said. In addition, since all products are made on site, customers can also receive the education they often come in seeking about how to incorporate natural products into their lives.
While Czarka’s original goal was to expand to her hometown of Detroit, her new shop in Brooklyn, NY paired with her home base in Nevada allows her to cover the entire United States in 24 to 48 hours via shipping.
“I can process mail orders faster than most people because of our uniqueness and our location here –that’s a huge thing,” she said. “My container company has a distribution center in Sparks where I can go and pick up my items reducing shipping costs. We are able to find businesses to partner with that want to help you grow. We invest in them and they invest in us and that is a substantial business advantage.”
50 S. Virginia Street
The Basement (under West Elm)
Every day 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1375 South Wells Ave.
Every day 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.