Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Belated Good-Bye to Ten Thousand Villages in Santa Fe

Why couldn’t they make it in Santa Fe, where the International Folk Art Market has drawn thousands of visitors looking to buy similar types of items, with a similar philosophy behind it of helping create a market for craftsmen and women around the world? Building rent that is too high and parking that is too scarce... -article in The Albuquerque Journal, June 20, 2014

Wait. How did I mis it?  It's been almost half a year since the Ten Thousand Villages store in Albuquerque shut its doors.  But I wasn't paying attention.  Now that I'm look to promote purchases of fair-trade and local products during the holidays, this option is now gone, a victim of the high cost of  doing business in the heart of Santa Fe. 

Karen and I visited Ten Thousand Villages in the summer of 2013, bought a few presents and a couple of packs of fair trade coffee. We had a nice chat with store manager Trish Padilla about Level Ground coffee, and why the store had chosen that brand over other popular fair-trade brands like Equal Exchange. There was also some conversation about an exciting schedule of events that the store had planned to bring in customers to the store over the ensuing months.  It was so exciting to have a Ten Thousand Villages operating in our state, especially after the decision of Peacecraft to cease operations in Albuquerque after nearly a quarter of a century. The decision to shut down was made at corporate headquarters, since the Santa Fe site was owned by Ten Thousand Villages and was not a franchise or contract store (which is the case with most other locations). I have to confess that after that one visit to Ten Thousand Villages in 2013, I never did make it back to Santa Fe to shop at the fair trade store.  

Stores in Colorado & Texas
With no fair-trade store in New Mexico, the next best option is to shop online or attend local craft stores that benefit organizations in our communities. So where is the closet fair-trade store?  There are five options in Colorado, including Ten Thousand Villages stores in Fort Collins and Denver, Momentum in Boulder, Glenwood Mennonite Church in Glenwood . Good Shepherd United Methodist Church and Beth-el Mennonite Church in Colorado Springs holds seasonal sales of products from Ten Thousand Villages.  Arizona has no actual stores, but two churches--St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Tucson and  Koinonia Mennonite Church in Chandler--sponsor holiday sales featuring fair-trade products from Ten Thousand Villages. In Texas, there are Ten Thousand Villages stores in San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth and Houston, as well as several churches in the state that sell fair-trade products.

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