Here’s a crazy story:
By happenstance I met a member of the Salina Downtown leadership group named Brian Richardson. I’ve been trying to woo Brian to invest in Lindsborg, but to date have fallen short. In the course of our conversations Brian encouraged me to think of opening a second store in Salina.
Now, clearly, I’m just a minister pretending to be a business person. The idea of opening a second store was laughable because I would actually have to utilize good business practices; however, I’ve said hundreds of times that we need more full Fair Trade retail stores in Kansas. (There are three Ten Thousand Villages options, one other privately owned store named Kretyen in Lawrence and our store in Lindsborg.) Salina is certainly a big enough town to support a store and I often lamented that they didn’t have a Fair Trade option.
The first week in December I decided to actually think about opening a second store in Salina. The ladies of Connected were *all in* and supportive with the logistical necessities. Things quickly progressed and we actually opened on December 13! (We pushed to get open before Christmas.)
We’re thankful to rent from Monte Gilliam in downtown, Salina, at 117 S. Sante Fe. Monte is a wonderful building owner and really wants us to be successful. He allowed us to have a trial time lease with more comfortable terms so that we can make sure we can sustain two locations.
There are a lot of reasons that we wanted to give this a try, but the main one is because we are fully committed to promoting Fair Trade. We want the artisans and farmers to have more sustained work. We’d love for more producers to have fair market access because of increased demand.
I truly believe that if people understand Fair Trade and have an easily accessible option, they will at least give Fair Trade a look. Because the products are so unique and good, more times than not those folks will buy Fair Trade. When this happens, the system works.
We’re giving it a go. If we find that we aren’t able to keep two stores sustained, at least we’ll have learned from the experience and will have peace that we tried… I guess we would have peace. Thinking of the farmers and artisans who depend on this market access is motivating.
So here’s to making it all work out, friends. Thanks for being a part of the effort!