After many years in Steinbach, Ten Thousand Villages will be closing this summer. The fair-trade store remained open after Ten Thousand Villages closed locations across Canada.
But now, the MCC Steinbach Board has decided it is time to also close the Steinbach location.
Dave Thiessen is General Manager at the MCC Thrift Store in Steinbach. He says they had permission to continue using the Ten Thousand Villages name, but that agreement has now expired.
“So, for us to be working with Ten Thousand Villages US, the duty and the tariffs on that product, the cost to bring that in, it's not a model really that's sustainable.”
Thiessen acknowledges the volunteers and employees at the Steinbach location, saying they have done great work, especially during difficult times.
He expresses appreciation to Manager Laurie Koop for her dedication in running the store amid various challenges.
“We didn’t close the doors right away when Ten Thousand Villages Canada closed the doors. So, the last three years that we've tried to carry on and you know we really didn't lose any steam that whole time,” Thiessen says. “I mean, COVID wasn't friendly to us, but the store sells. She's procured a lot of other products from other avenues.”
Thiessen says MCC opened Ten Thousand Villages locations as a way for artisans in developing countries to sell their wares and earn a living.
These days, he says, there are many stores that carry fair-trade products and there is no longer a need for MCC to facilitate these sales in Canada.
“With MCC Community Assistance Center here, we really want to let folks know that we've appreciated all of the support. Whether it's through the customers, whether it's through the volunteers, people have been supporting that gift store for many years and we appreciate that very much. Artisans have been supported around the world through that project and we're just grateful for all that support. We hope that they come, and they buy some discounted product and help us to work through this transition.”
Ten Thousand Villages Steinbach is expected to close by August 31st.