When my kids were babies and toddlers, the most sacred part of my day was naptime (theirs, not mine!). My structured routine each day usually yielded a couple of hours of peace and quiet, but on the days I couldn’t get my brood to cooperate I relied on Plan B – taking a scenic drive so they would fall asleep in the car. Though I had several routes to choose from, my favorite, hands down, was beautiful Jamestown.
I could easily cruise by the historic Jamestown Windmill, or slowly drift through Beavertail Park and my little ones would catch Z’s for just the right amount of time, but during our serene naptime rides, I always made sure my mini excursion included a ride through picture-perfect downtown. Dotted with fantastic restaurants, playgrounds and professional offices, there were always amazing one-of-a-kind shops to be had. Time has marched on, and now many of my kids are driving me places, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Jamestown’s charm, including some wonderful new, creative stores to explore.
Fair Trade Winds is one of Jamestown’s newest shopping venues, which is quickly becoming an anchor to the shopping pulse downtown. Overlooking the gorgeous bay, I sensed something special about this shop from just peering through the gleaming window displays of spectacular artisan lamps and mobiles made from earthy shells.
Once inside I met down-to-earth manager Reva Greenstein who was artfully arranging an exquisite collection of Wild Woolies felt birdhouses. As a tactile person, I delighted in touching these brilliantly colored birdhouses that came in dozens of adorable shapes and vibrant shades and can be used as a clever indoor home decoration item or can actually be placed outside where small birds are known to use them for nesting.
The aroma of fresh coffee beans from the well-known Dean’s Beans wafted through the space where I had the chance to learn some cool info about the Fair Trade biz and why the products in this store are unlike any other.
This family-run store began when owners Lois and Paul Culler, familiar with fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate, through buying and selling these products at their church for many years, wanted to expand their product line. They discovered the Fair Trade Federation of North America, which supports the Fair Trade concept in many areas of the world such as Haiti, Peru, India, Kenya and the Philippines.
Reva explains with great passion that Fair Trade goods come from farmers and workers across the globe who are justly compensated for their product. Meant to be a long-term system, not short-term charity, Fair Trade works to make communities sustainable on all levels. The impact of Fair Trade goes way beyond a fair, living wage; it empowers those living in poverty, especially women who are often the most marginalized, to create positive change in their lives and their communities. “Behind every item we carry in this store, is a person’s life, maybe an entire village’s life,” she exclaims.
The Cullers started small by selling products locally at fairs, events, and churches. Eventually, they invested in a retail space and Fair Trade Winds was born. Today, the extended family operates seven stores which are an integral part of a cooperative effort to benefit farmers, artisans, and the environment, and their Jamestown store is their newest location which has been open for 1 1/2 years now, recently expanding so they can carry a larger assortment of Fair Trade merchandise.
Crazy for table linens, I spot a stunning collection of hand-block printed napkins made in India and some of the prettiest table runners I’ve ever seen – reasonably priced so I can buy a set for a gift and score one for myself.
Those of you who know my fetish for wall art will understand that my heart skipped a beat (make that several!) when I checked out the amazing assortment of wall hangings. The metal pieces crafted from oil drums ranged from garden hangings to intricate art-deco pieces. The wooden garlands made from beads awash in Caribbean colors will add flair to any mantle and would be perfect for holiday decorating. The Capiz shell strands can be used for draping your Christmas tree or to stream gently in a doorway.
Shopping here is a very sensual experience – it’s all covered – taste, touch, smell, sight and let’s not forget about sound, there are CD’s available that will deliver an authentic journey to these very villages that are making this magical store possible.
Fair Trade Winds really does have it all. Gourmet gifts for foodies – chocolate, coffee and tea, inspired jewelery collections, scarves, kitchen goods, candles, journals and cards (perfect for the writers in your life, hint, hint), pillows, cozy blankets, sweet picture frames, and plenty of fun stuff for the kiddies in your life – puzzles, games, finger puppets and more. Best of all, you’ll be shopping in beautiful Jamestown at extremely affordable prizes and helping to support a global cause all at the same time. Happy Holidays!
Fair Trade Winds
47 Conanicus Avenue, Jamestown