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Guest Blogger

Jennie Marshall

Born and raised in the City of Champions, this U of A alumni loves exploring the amazing food, fashion and art scene that is abundant in YEG! An avid football fan, sporting events are always a priority. From wine bars to window shopping she is always out & about in River City looking to try something new, with her finger-on-the-pulse of our vibrant city. 

You can find Jennie on TwitterInstagram, Snapchat, and weekly on Shaw TV. 

Ten Thousand Villages In Old Strathcona Turns 30!

Friday September 09 , 2016

Ten Thousand Villages is the oldest, as well as the largest, Fair Trade organization in North America. The very first location opened 70 years ago by an American woman, Edna Ruth Byler. She bought artisan-made items from the Philippines and Americans could not get enough. Since then, stores have popped up across the continent, including 38 stores here in Canada. And, they are one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade organization. 

It was in September of 1986 when Ten Thousand Villages opened its doors in Edmonton, with a tiny store located in Old Strathcona. Now, on their 30th anniversary, they have a big, beautiful and prominent shop right on Whyte Avenue. To celebrate this auspicious date, the store will be having a fabulous in-house event happening Saturday, September 10th. The first 30 customers in the door will receive 30% off their entire purchase - of everything the store has to offer! Throughout the day there will also be free chocolate tasting of the amazing Free Trade chocolates, with info sessions on the different types of chocolates, and how chocolate differs from different counties. There will be raffles, anniversary cake, and customers will receive free tote bags (while quantities last) made from recycled coffee bags - trust me, they are très chic!

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Ten Thousand Villages specializes artisan-crafted personal accessories, home decor and gift items from around the globe. From wall hanging brought in from Africa and South East Asia, coffee and tea mugs and dishes, fair trade coffee and tea, scarves and jewelry, table linens, and so much more. They are constantly expanding, as well as finding new and unique items to bring in. Some of the amazing new items in the store, that I just loved, include silver and copper house wares, a plethora of gifts made out of gourds from Peru, hand-blown and painted glass wear, as well as hand crafted leather bags, totes and brief cases. They also have gorgeous new throw pillows, and an amazing array of products made of recycled saris from Bangladesh. I also fell in love with all the adorable items for children; the hand-made animal booties are a must! As well as beautiful books and toys. 

It may surprise you to know that this is not your normal business… Ten Thousand Villages is a Non-Profit Organization that relies on volunteers to work in the stores. This helps to keep costs down even more, so the artisans can be paid as much as possible. This is a store with a difference, making a difference. The amazing store, here in River City, usually has 2 full-time staff, 2 part-time staff, and about 40 volunteers on staff. If you are interested in volunteering, head down and talk to them.

Ten Thousand Villages Mission Statement
Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.