Fair trade before it was cool

Posted by Jamie Lee on Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Luke Edwards, Niagara this Week staff

Ten Thousand Villages celebrates 65 years

Fair trade before it was cool. Jane Nigh, manager of the Port Colborne Ten Thousand Villages, is ready to celebrate the store’s 65th anniversary Oct. 1.

They were fair trade before the term was even coined.

On Oct. 1 Ten Thousand Villages stores across the country will be celebrating their 65th anniversary and the Port Colborne store is inviting residents to stop by, check out the store and enjoy some anniversary cake.

“Fair trade, of course. Fair trade chocolate, fair trade sugar and fair trade coffee,” said Jane Nigh, manager of the Port Colborne Ten Thousand Villages.

The store has been a staple in Port Colborne for 27 years, beginning as part of Port Gift and Thrift. Nine years ago it separated and became its own store, and moved to its current location on Clarence Street four years ago.

“It offers this wonderful world shop to the citizens of Port Colborne,” Nigh said.

Ten Thousand Villages came from the Mennonite Central Committee and their job creation programs in foreign countries. Now, Ten Thousand Villages buys anything from chocolate to rugs to artifacts from artisans throughout the world.

Nigh said she has direct contact with those artisans, and takes yearly trips to areas in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, among others.
It’s also a great opportunity to provide meaningful volunteer hours. The store is almost entirely volunteer run. The only position that’s different is one that’s literally less than half-time, she said.

The day starts with a sit-down breakfast outside for previous store managers and volunteers. They will open at 10 a.m. and invite residents to come and sample their products and hear stories of products and artisans from the volunteers.

Ten Thousand Villages in Port Colborne is located at 7 Clarence St.


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