Global Village: A gift shop
that gives twice
By Kate Clark
March 16, 2009 | LOGAN -- Nestled between old pines
and twisted limbs that have experienced the worst of
what winter has to offer, the old olive house stood
comfortably, speckled in the afternoon sunshine. Above
its strikingly blue door and worn orange steps, the
words "Global Village" invite you in.
On the other side of the door, you are enveloped in
a sea of vibrant woven bags, encrypted with native letterings,
smooth wooden figures and strands of bracelets and necklaces,
which gleam in the light filtering through the front
At 146 N. and 100 East, Global Village is unlike any
other place in Cache Valley, and not just because of
its curb appeal. It stands as the only place in Logan
where fairly traded handicrafts can be purchased, assisting
underpaid artisans in over 30 countries around the world.
"When you buy a gift from Global Village, you are
getting a gift that gives twice," said Julie Barker,
a volunteer at the shop.
According to Global Village's official website, the
not-for-profit retail store grew from Ten Thousand Villages
in Salt Lake City, and came to Logan as its own corporation
Now as Global Village's supplier, Ten Thousand Villages,
and SERRV International, "a nonprofit alternative trade
and development organization," work with artisan cooperatives
in Africa, Asia, and South America to purchase handicrafts.
Crafts are chosen based upon who needs the most help,
how appealing the items might be to customers across
the United States, and to help the artisans become stable
so they can support their families.
To make certain the items appeal to U.S. consumers,
the artisans are offered design assistance. This training
helps them to develop design and business skills that
will further their sales and bring them out of poverty.
They also receive 50% up-front for their handicrafts.
The rest is received once a purchase has been made.
This way, long-term relationships are built so the progress
of the artisans is supported and directed towards a
Global Village relies entirely on volunteers donating
their time to make fair trade possible. Customers, in
their own sense, are also volunteering their time and
money to help. Global Village is often called the "store
that's never open" because the need for volunteers is
"We would be open six days a week but we don't have
enough volunteers to do that," said Sue Zollinger, a
The store is currently open Thursdays and Fridays
from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10:00
a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is always looking for new volunteers
to direct sales, unpack inventory, or to perform store
publicity and presentations.
Along with providing honest income to Third World
people, Global Village educates volunteer workers and
customers about the artisans and their practices to
hopefully increase awareness about the principles of
"Once you learn the stories behind the merchandise,
it makes it that much more beautiful," said Zollinger.
"You can see similar merchandise to ours in TJ Max,
but you don't know whether it's fair trade or if it
was just made in that country."
Books, clothing, ceramic and wooden kitchenware, and
stationary in all varieties overflow the shelves of
the friendly store. One room is dedicated to musical
instruments. Children visit frequently to admire turtle-shaped
whistles or to play with pan flutes and rain sticks.
Exotic teas and chocolates are also on display. "Divine,"
chocolates even make the wrapper appear appetizing,
with its black and gold designs demanding any customers
"It's the only place I don't feel guilty spending
my money," said Tess Davis, a local high-school student
who admits to visiting the store frequently. "My grandmother
spent a lot of time shopping there and after seeing
the quality of the products she was getting, I decided
to go myself."
Purchasing products from Global Village helps to preserve
native artwork and traditional methods of production.
"A lot of the artisans pass down skills through their
families," said Barker, "We all have things in our lives
we are accustomed to, but it's disappointing to see
cultural traditions depleting."
Barker, who has volunteered at Global Village since
November 2003, grew up in under-developed communities
around the world. Her father worked for a non-profit
organization that helped increase rice production in
impoverished areas. He helped triple production in the
"I was able to see how simple things make such a difference
in people's lives," said Barker.
After graduating from high school in the Philippines
and experiencing poverty first-hand, Barker is overjoyed
to help people overseas while still being able to live
in Cache Valley.
"We live in a society where we need to be a little
more concerned about one another," said Barker. "We
tend to think about ourselves so much because we are
constantly told by advertisers that we need things when
there are people who may not even be able to feed their
families every day. If we had taken the time to help
those who really needed it instead of focusing on ourselves,
our country would be in much better shape right now."
Money issues and the state of our economy may be a
worry for most Americans right now, but to all of the
artisans helped by Global Village and other fair trade
organizations, selling their precious handicrafts is
a matter of life and death.
Websites used, www.globalvillagegifts.org