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City Shaper: Jim Kupczyk

Kupczyk came up with the Mindful Market concept in 2011 and launched the website last May.

LANCASTER, N.Y. — Each week, we highlight the work of a Buffalo City Shaper, someone who is contributing to Buffalo's resurgence. This week, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik introduces us to a Buffalo native is hoping to change the way you shop online.

"I had that 'ah-ha' moment, I'm like I just need to create a marketplace for businesses that do good for the planet," Jim Kupczyk said.

Kupczyk came up with the Mindful Market concept in 2011 and launched the website last May.

"It's kind of like Etsy for total well-being," Kupczyk said.

Go to MindfulMarket.com and you can search for products based on your values.

"So, whether they're shopping for gluten-free, eco-friendly, made with essential oils," Kupczyk said.

Kupczyk applied for the Start-Up New York program and got in. He says it's a great time to be doing business in Buffalo.

"Buffalo, New York is an awesome place if you're an entrepreneur. Unlike New York City where it's cutthroat, I think Buffalo, New York takes more of an anti-Darwinian approach. They want to see everybody thrive. So, I think in Buffalo, New York you're like literally like two degrees of separation away from somebody that really wants to help you,” Kupczyk said.

Mindful Market is subscription-based for the businesses that sign-up to be on the site. In most cases, Kupczyk says it's cheaper than doing their own websites.

Mystic Pines Candle Co. in the Village of Lancaster donates 25 percent of all retail candles sales to a different charity each week, and for co-owner Christina Cox, becoming part of Mindful Market made a lot of sense.

"You're aligned with like-minded people. So, I don't want to say there's anything wrong with Etsy, because Etsy is wonderful, but here you're truly with like-minded people. So, it's taken kind of a long time to find that space, we found it here in Buffalo by moving here, but now we've actually found it online through Mindful Market," Cox said.

Added Kupczyk: "This new emerging Buffalo is over the last three years, you see a rise in artisan companies, you see a rise in green companies, and micro-communities and Etsy.com is based in Brooklyn and Amazon is in Seattle and I want Buffalo, New York to be just the home and a mecca for conscious-based business."

Kupczyk is looking to expand to a few thousand people on the platform a year from now

If there's someone you would like to nominate to be a City Shaper, you can also find a link there to send Kelly Dudzik an email.