The Grocer – not just another reusable shopping bag

The Grocer 3

ADK Packworks’ “Grocer” is an innovative, sturdy reusable bag that stands up and stays open as needed.

Here in the U.S., and perhaps other places, we’ve become a throwaway society.  We use 100 billion plastic bags and 10 billion paper bags annually

There’s a steadily growing trend to ban or tax single use plastic bags. A number of countries have already banned their use. In the U.S. cities and counties in 13 states already ban them and many more are considering it. One South Texas town charges a $1 per transaction fee for plastic or paper checkout bags. In California, 62 cities and 8 counties have banned them.

Because of this, consumers are being forced to turn to reusable bags.

The reusable grocery bag market has doubled in the past five years, said Douglas Rumbpugh, co-founder of ADK Packworks. But it’s a mere one percent of the market – “a blip on the map relative to the bags used in the US right now,” he said.

But reusable bags have a relatively short shelf life and need constant replacing. In January, ADK Packworks introduced an innovative solution. The Grocer, a sturdy reusable bag, is an eco-friendly take on the classic Adirondack pack basket.

The pack basket is a 150 year old product used in the 1800’s by trappers and early settlers to carry heavy loads. Still in use today, with its flat bottom design and attached straps, this sturdy basket let you carry items while leaving your hands free.

The Grocer can be configured as a backpack, worn over the shoulder or used as a messenger tote

The Grocer can be configured as a backpack, worn over the shoulder or used as a messenger tote

The Grocer gives this a modern update.

Designed and tested in Vermont, the Grocer is made of durable ripstop nylon. It features a semi-rigid internal frame and a flat bottom for increased stability, independent of what’s inside. Unlike other reusable bags, it stands up and stays open on its own. About the same dimensions as a traditional paper grocery bag, its metal frame also folds up for easy storage.

But the Grocer is more than a shopping bag. Its straps can easily be adjusted for different carrying options – as a two handled messenger-type bag, for over-the shoulder (my personal favorite) or as a sturdy backpack. Adding to its functionality, it has an optional inner insulated liner you can use to keep food cold.

The Grocer can stand upright in a car or on a counter. Before this, there were few reusable bags with a structure, said Rumbough. Most are soft sided, flimsy material that can’t hold much weight.

Packworks’ reusable bag has been tested to successfully hold up to thirty pounds, something previously unheard of.

“Baggers in stores love it,” Rumbough said. “It’s so easy to organize and to fill.”

Consumers generally have trouble remembering to use their reusable bags. Many of us have them in the car but forget to bring them in when shopping.

“When people buy our product,” said Rumbough, “they like it so much they remember to bring it into the store!”

The Grocer has a removable insert  that can keep food cold

The Grocer has a removable insert that can keep food cold

“Our bag offers more than conventional bags do,” he said. They’re built to last, they’re water resistant, and they’re remarkably versatile.

The Grocer may be a misnomer as far as I can tell. Its applications go beyond the shopping world. It’s a handsome tote bag that can also be used to carry and keep your lunch cold. The insert is removable for easy hand washing. Pack the bag with gear and take it hiking or camping. Or reconfigure it and use it as a backpack around town or for school. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Rumbough’s company plans to expand the line with a natural hemp / organic cotton version later this year. Plans also include bags with more of a fashion look – with new colors and patterns. The Grocer is currently available in four colors – olive green, charcoal grey, red and cranberry. The Grocer is available online at

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