It’s no secret that St. Louis has been in the news a lot the past few years. Friends in other cities and countries see images of protests and warzone-like scenarios with tear gas, fire, protesters and police lines and have asked if we’re okay. It’s puzzling to me since despite the actually small interruptions and issues we’ve had, St. Louis has some true charm. I’m sure most locals most certainly transcends the negative press we’ve received. Located on the eastern edge of the Midwest– the iconic arch on the Mississippi’s edge serves as the official symbol of the gateway to the west. We have friendly Midwesterners- talkative and kind in most any situation. Our well-known brewery, Anheuser Busch has some competition from several amazing microbreweries. Pocket neighborhoods house cozy restaurants and fun stores. Our walk of fame is in the melting pot, the Delmar Loop, and showcases locals that have made it big like Maya Angelou, Kevin Kline, John Goodman, Chuck Berry and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, among others. This vibrant neighborhood has some of the best restaurants and bars and my favorite restored old movie theater. The Central West End has trendy restaurants and bars and sits on the edge of historic Forest Park. St. Louis’ charm runs deep with midwest friendliness and personality- and wouldn’t exist without the dedicated locals.
In one of these wonderful, quirky neighborhoods, a most inspiring business sits inside a historical building in Kirkwood that once was a firehouse. Sammysoap’s scents greet you at the door with cozy images of bubble baths and nature’s finest flowers. But, Sammysoap is no ordinary soap store. Not only are the products all natural and vegan, they’re handmade by a team of people including developmentally disabled adults; with Sam, the son of the owner as the inspiration. After Sam graduated high school, his options were limited and included an Alzheimer’s unit– somewhere his mom realized he wouldn’t and couldn’t thrive. So, after receiving some handmade soap from a relative and realizing it was a fantastic product, she decided making soap could eventually be an opportunity as well. This isn’t a workshop atmosphere- every employee here receives fair wages, regardless of ability. Not only has this allowed Sam to work doing something he enjoys, it’s afforded him some freedom to walk the neighborhood and make friends of his own in the pedestrian-friendly Kirkwood community. Sammysoap offers tours and has a charming shop full of all of their goodies and more. I can’t think of a better place to include in a moxie box than one that not only makes incredible products, but also gives back in a meaningful way.
Part of the Moxie mission was to give some love back to my city that’s been hurting. Of course, it’s the negative actions of a few that have impacted the greater good of many– bad press makes it difficult. Time to get up, dust off and share my wonderful city’s goodies with you. If only I could mail you some good ol’ St. Louis toasted ravioli… maybe in the future. Until then, enjoy the luxurious soap made by Sam and his family and coworkers…you won’t be disappointed.