Tri-Cities first Fair Trade store opens in downtown Johnson Cit - WRBL

Tri-Cities first Fair Trade store opens in downtown Johnson City

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Press Release

JOHNSON CITY, TN - Purchasing power can take on a whole new meaning for Tri-Cities shoppers who enter the doors of Artisans' Village, a fair trade retail store on the first floor of the King Centre in downtown Johnson City. 

Owners Michael and Leah Short opened the metro area's first fair trade retail store April 19 in Suite 110 of 300 East Main Street, where they offer a wide variety of retail goods. They hope to familiarize their clientele with a shopping experience dedicated to an equitable relationship between artisans and producers around the world and the businesses that sell their products. 

"We're excited about establishing a presence in downtown Johnson City and providing people an avenue to buy quality items and make a difference around the world at the same time," Leah Short said. "Downtown is really growing right now and we believe our store will be a good fit." 

Most Artisans' Village products come from developing countries, but that is where the similarity ends between an athletic shirt from Honduras one might find at a big box retailer and an Artisans' Village item. Artisans' Village adheres to 10 key, internationally recognized principles of fair trade overseen and certified by the World Fair Trade Organization.

Those principles include: Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers; transparency and accountability; fair trading practices; payment of a fair trade price; ensuring no exploitation of child labor or forced labor; commitment to non-discrimination, gender equity and freedom of association; ensuring good working conditions; providing capacity building; promoting fair trade; and respect for the environment.

 "This provides a way for people to come out of that poverty cycle that is common in many countries and to take care of their families," Leah Short said.

"People are going to buy the kind of goods that are for sale here anyway, and why not do it with a cause that helps somebody else, helps their families grow and helps communities around the world develop for the better."

 Since people are earning fair wages and not being exploited, Michael Short said, "they're able to purchase homes, send their children to school and achieve many of the other things that help lift folks out of poverty." 

Artisans' Village is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. The storefront faces East Main. For more information call (423) 215-2019 or visit them on Facebook. Learn more about fair trade at www.wfto.com.

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