We're Giving $10,000 to the Best Small Business in America

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Running a small-brick-and-mortar business is not easy.

Running a small brick-and-mortar business is not easy. Each day we are inspired by the business owners we interact with who put their trust in Rubicon to manage their waste collection, recycling projects and sustainability opportunities. We want to give back and help some of those small businesses continue to flourish. We are out to salute those small businesses that continue to help America thrive.
To select the Best Small Business in America, we've brought together three industry leaders.
Tim Lamb
Tim Lamb
Director of Marketing and Demand Generation at Rubicon Global
Headshot of woman smiling with short hair and earrings
Erin Holohan
Director, Corporate Wellness Programs at MINDBODY
Chris Comparato headshot
Chris Comparato
CEO at Toast

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*Terms and Conditions to the contest apply.

We found our winner!
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik (Sister Bay, WI
Congratulations to:
Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik (Sister Bay, WI)
Since 1973, Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant is a place where you can find a lot of things- authentic Swedish meatballs, a family atmosphere, and goats grazing grass on the roof. Yes, Al Johnson’s signature grass roof is peppered with adorable animals for patrons to enjoy. A landmark in the area, the restaurant took what was originally a prank, and turned into a Sister Bay staple. More than just a gimmick, these goats have earned Al Johnson’s a certification in Wisconsin’s Travel Green Program for their special sod roof. The implementation of this silly yet sustainable practice has helped minimize the restaurants energy/water impact for over 50 years.

Photo credit: Stephen Wolter

The 2018 Finalists
Compost Crusader LLC (Milwaukee, WI)
Compost Crusader LLC (Milwaukee, WI)
Milwaukee’s Compost Crusader LLC is on a mission to fight excess waste. Working with a bevy of businesses to implement composting to divert waste from landfill, the team has become a local one-stop-shop for all things organics recycling and the corresponding compost accessories. With philanthropy as a core value, the Compost Crusaders donate 1 yard of compost to the local community for every 20,000 lbs of collected material. Founded in 2009 as “Kompost Kids”, the mission of the crusaders has remained consistent throughout the metamorphosis of the company; to divert 50-75% of each customer’s waste from the landfill.

Photo credit: Mike De Siti

Craft Urban Restaurant (Geneva, IL)
Craft Urban Restaurant (Geneva, IL)
Craft Urban’s first year in business has been one of sustainable sourcing, solid service, and success. Laser focused on local ingredients and responsible curation, Craft Urban has reinvented classical preparations into edible works of art. The seasonal menu boasts favorites like short rib burger, rainbow trout, and even artisanal bread with house-made butter. Enjoy local produce in a truly unique space; with gorgeous hand-painted murals and eye-catching pop art. Curating so much more than just a charcuterie board, the team at Craft Urban have reignited the experiential part of dining.
Evolution Power Yoga, LLC (Lancaster, PA)
Evolution Power Yoga, LLC (Lancaster, PA)
Evolution Power Yoga opened up shop in 2001 to the people of Lancaster, PA. Like it’s namesake, the studio’s evolution over the last 17 years has been one that has affected the entire surrounding community. Neighboring cafes have had to change their employee schedules and inventory, all to meet the demands of the post-class crowd. The Evolution Power team goes above and beyond for their community, and even around the globe, doing all sorts of charitable work for a near-and-dear foundation, the Africa Yoga Project. Evolution Power Yoga and their now multiple locations provide both solace and serenity while emphasizing sustainable business practices.

Photo credit: Jenny Foster

Farm Hound Treats (Atlanta, GA)
Farm Hounds Treats (Atlanta, GA)
Atlanta’s Farm Hounds Treats truly embody the old saying, “quality over quantity.” The brains behind the local and wildly popular, The Whole Dog Market, a sustainably sourced store for pet products and must-haves, have launched a treat line that emphasizes local ingredients for optimal nutrition. Using protein from Georgia’s premiere White Oak Pastures, everything done at Farm Hounds is done with the dog in mind; from purpose, to product, to protein partners. Empowering small farmers while simultaneously keeping pets and owners happy? A true win-win!

Photo credit: Atlanta Doggies

Firecracker Pizza (St. Louis, MO)
Firecracker Pizza (St. Louis, MO)
St. Louis’ new Firecracker Pizza is an explosion of all things flavor, brews, and attitude. This is not your average pizzeria; Firecracker focuses on unique toppings like roasted Mexican street corn, cool mint chutney, and house-smoked pastrami. Besides being into mouthwatering flavor combos, the Firecracker team is also super environmentally focused, with a robust recycling program and without a single straw in sight. The Grove, a bustling part of town filled with entertainment and nightlife was yearning for a new pizza place. Firecracker opened in 2018 and has become the delicious representation of every walk of life that fills the streets of their neighborhood.
GoodWood NOLA (New Orleans, LA)
New Orlean’s GoodWood NOLA is a southern fabrication and design firm with a focus on sustainability in and out of their office. Hand-making furniture can have quite the environmental impact, but GoodWood has made sure to do their part. In their studio, they practice computer energy conservation, have various sustainable equipment certifications, and have banned the use of plastic bags, styrofoam, and bottled water on the property. In addition to donating used materials to the local community, the team at GoodWood annually organizes a group of individuals for a day of planting trees in the community. This initiative, known as “Building the Canopy," allows the business to almost completely offset their annual lumber consumption.

Photo credit: Randy P. Schmidt

Hey! Cafe and Coffee Roastery (New Orleans, LA)
Hey! Cafe and Coffee Roastery (New Orleans, LA)
A coffee shop with no garbage cans? Open for over half a decade, Hey! Cafe and Coffee Roastery is putting a whole new meaning on the term “made in-house.” This funky shop transitioned from roasting ethically sourced beans for its own use to selling them all over town. It’s also branched out into how java can be consumed, partnering local breweries to create a coffee saison, as well as rocking a nitro cold-brew coffee on tap.In addition to having some seriously incredible coffee, this shop also has some seriously impressive zero-waste goals. The roastery composts, upcycles, and only produces 1-3 pounds of trash daily.
Markham and Fitz (Bentonville, AR)
Markham and Fitz (Bentonville, AR)
With a sinfully delicious range of candy bars, cookies, and cozy sipping chocolates, Bentonville’s Markham and Fitz Chocolate Shop uses organic non-gmo cane sugar and package their goodies up in compostable and recyclable wrapping. The protective coating that surrounds the chocolate bars is 100% biodegradable and created from vegetable plastic. A small team of visionaries, the brains behind the bars are always looking for new and innovative solutions to handle their excess waste on site. Creating confections using their “bean to bar” method for the last couple of years, the team behind the treats are passionate about environmentally friendly ingredients and sustainable supply-chain management.

Photo credit: Kyle Mcarthy

RE:3D (Houston/Austin Texas)
RE:3D (Houston/Austin Texas)
This multi-location 3D-printing technology company is revolutionizing the way we think, build, and grow. 3D printing is helping companies of all sizes think bigger and outside the box when it comes to innovation. Gigabot, RE:3D’s marquee 3D printer implemented in over 50 different countries, allows large scale 3D printing at a more comfortable price point. In addition to helping corporations, RE:3D (and Gigabot) is printing it’s stamp on the world by reimagining forms of research, healing broken bones with alternative methods of casting, and even fossil preservation. With an emphasis on higher education, 3D printing services are discounted for creative spaces, schools, and non-profit organizations.
Saltwater Brewery (Delray Beach, FL)
Saltwater Brewery (Delray Beach, FL)
In an effort to maintain the health of your oceans, Saltwater Brewery pioneered a unique invention.. edible six-pack rings, a new approach to solving the issue of unsustainable beer packaging. These six-pack rings are 100 percent biodegradable and edible, as they are made from barley and wheat ribbons used during the brewing process. Not only is the practice reducing excess waste in the brewery, but this packaging can actually be safely eaten by animals that may come into contact with it. To further reinforce their commitment to cleaning up oceans, Saltwater Brewery also gives back to several ocean related charities such as CCA, Surfrider, Ocean Foundation, and MOTE Marine Labs.

Photo credit: Saltwater Brewery and Coviello Photo

Shades of Green Permaculture (Atlanta, GA)
Shades of Green Permaculture (Atlanta, GA)
Shades of Green Permaculture is an environmentally friendly installation and landscape studio serving up sustainable solutions for all of the Southeast. With over 14 years of experience, the visionaries behind the ecological systems and regenerative areas have perfected the art of conscious design. The team specializes in the creation of gorgeous and conscious spaces, structures, and soils. Monday Night Brewing, one of Atlanta’s coolest craft breweries, enlisted help from Shades of Green to create a bountiful orchard in their new tasting room to reflect the use seasonal ingredients. Besides environmental sustainability, the Shades of Green team values education and holds various workshops, informational events, and sustainability focused internships.

Photo credit: Lauren Ladov

Stony Brook WholeHearted Foods  (Geneva, NY)
Stony Brook WholeHearted Foods (Geneva, NY)
Proud to be one of America’s few artisan makers of a line of creative cooking oils produced from sustainably sourced seeds, Stony Brook WholeHearted Foods emphasizes local farmers and ethical production practices on US soil. Stony Brook boasts an impressive and addictive line of pumpkin seeds, seed protein powders, and even gluten-free nut free options. This NY based operation has gone back to basics to perfect their product. Small batches of local and seasonal seeds are always sourced, milled, roasted, and packaged onsite in Geneva to produce maximum flavor for minimal environmental impact.

Photo credit: Jason Koski

Sun and Soil Juice Company (Sacramento, CA)
Sun and Soil Juice Company (Sacramento, CA)
Open since 2014, Sun and Soil Juice Co. has made quite a splash in Sacramento. Positioned in between some of the lushest and bountiful organic farms on the West-Coast, S and S Juice Co. has created quite the recipe for sustainable success. Not only is the juice good for the body, but it is good for the planet as well! S and S uses a refillable glass bottle program in order to eliminate the need for Styrofoam and continually work to reduce their carbon footprint. Sun and Soil keeps customers coming back to refill those bottles all day with mouthwatering flavors like Orange Carrot Creamsicle, Pear Cider, and the cleansing Spinach Limeade.

Photo credit: Tatiana Kaiser and Vincent Marchese

Yoloha Yoga (Charleston, SC)
Yoloha Yoga (Charleston, SC)
Yoloha Yoga is here to change the yoga experience and our planet simultaneously. Yoloha yoga mats are made from recycled cork and are able to repel the bacteria that lingers in our sweat after a downward dog. In order to create the world’s very first cork mats, Yoloha even asks the public to send them their wine corks to be recycled. These recycled corks are then cleaned, ground into small pieces, and turned into blocks, meditation cushions, and traditional mats. The Yoloha team employs sustainable practices in their shipping and warehouse facilities and vow never to use single use plastics.
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