Being ‘green’ a founding value for Radiance Herbs and Massage

Radiance Herbs and Massage, a business that has called downtown Olympia home for 40 years, was singled out Wednesday for its environmentally friendly business practices as part of a recognition program offered by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce.

Radiance won distinction for its green business practices in the medium-size business category. Two other businesses and a local government also won awards during a chamber luncheon at the Red Lion Hotel Olympia.

The small business award went to Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs, a startup distillery in Hawks Prairie that was launched by Sam Desner and his father, Sandy. The large business award went to Olympia Federal Savings. The relatively new government award went to the city of Olympia.

Radiance was credited for participating in a Puget Sound Energy green power program, as well as selling non-toxic products; Salish Sea recycles 100 percent of its bottles; Olympia Federal Savings uses water efficiently at its branches; and the city of Olympia has installed 92 solar panels at City Hall.

In addition to the four main winners, another 75 businesses also were recognized for being green. The chamber’s green designation program is eight years old. Last year, 55 businesses were recognized.

Radiance co-owner Karin Olsen was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the business. She said that being green has been a “founding value for us.”

The business has spent most of its tenure on Fifth Avenue, between Capitol Way and Washington Street, although it originally opened on Fourth Avenue in 1975, Olsen said. Radiance officially will celebrate 40 years of business in July, she said.

Olsen and her partner, Andrea Seabert, bought the business 10 years ago. In addition to being green, it also has become a significant downtown employer, with 14 people on its retail staff and another 10 massage therapists.

Among the items at Radiance: more than 200 bulk herbs that customers purchase to create teas or medicines. They also sell organic skin care products, shampoos and soaps in bulk so that customers can simply have their bottles refilled, Olsen said.

Another retail item sold at Radiance is the fair-trade skin care products produced by Alaffia, an Olympia business known for importing key ingredients from west Africa and then manufacturing them in a warehouse near Olympia Regional Airport.

“It’s a continuing value to be green,” Olsen said, adding that the business aims to be “good for people and the planet.”