A long time friend to the Short North, Global Gifts is now making it official. Formerly the Short North location of Global Gallery, the Indiana-based Global Gifts has partnered with fair trade organizations in Columbus for many years and has a long-standing history with the former Short North Arts District resident. “We’re excited to now join the local efforts to spread the mission of fair trade,” said Sam Carpenter, Executive Director.

“Opening a store in the Short North was a great fit for many reasons,” said Rachel Ferguson, Marketing Director. “Global Gallery wanted to spend more time focusing on and growing their coffee shop initiative, and we were already considering opening a fourth location, so assuming Global Gallery’s space in the Short North was a great solution for both of our organizations to continue to spread the mission of fair trade,” Ferguson said. “The Short North is a dynamic and interesting area that we felt would be a perfect fit for our store.”

Similar to its other locations, Global Gifts’ Short North store will carry fair trade jewelry, home goods, gifts, and food items representing dozens of countries worldwide such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Uganda, India, Vietnam, Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, and Haiti. “All of these products are made according to the principles of fair trade, which emphasizes fair pay, safe working conditions, gender equality, and environmental sustainability,” Ferguson said.

Global Gifts ensures their products have been created by artisans and producers who have been paid fair wages and have safe working environments. “There’s a focus on gender equality, environmental sustainability, and transparency at every step of the process,” Ferguson said. “We are contacted all the time by groups with great products, but we find that the best way to assure our customers that our products truly adhere to fair trade principles is to work with groups who are members of the Fair Trade Federation, World Fair Trade Organization, or other third-party organizations who will hold them accountable to fair trade standards.”

Global Gifts frequently adds new products and focuses on building long-term relationships with artisan and producer groups. “Unlike traditional retail models in which a product might go through multiple channels and distributors before landing in stores, we have direct dialogue with the groups who make our items,” Ferguson said. “This means that we often have the opportunity to talk through product ideas and offer suggestions and insights about how to make those products really appealing to our customers. This kind of relationship means that we can always offer fresh and interesting items, and the artisans get feedback that helps them grow and maintain their livelihoods.”

Global Gifts will celebrate its Grand Opening on Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22 with live music, family activities, and a sampling of fair trade goodies, including products by the Women’s Bean Project. Based in Denver, Colorado, The Women’s Bean Project “helps women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment through job readiness training and skills development,” Ferguson said. “These ladies produce the most delicious scone and cookie mixes, as well as dips, cornbread, and soups.” Global Gifts will have a selection of The Women’s Bean Project mixes for sampling, as well as fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate, a customer favorite.

For more information, visit the store at 682 N. High St, 10:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Thursday, 10:00am to 8:00pm Friday and Saturday, and 11:00am to 5:00pm Sunday.

Photos courtesy of Rachel Ferguson.

– Michelle Gibson