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Alissa, Store Manager and Purchasing Manager, lounging during the annual Rug Event

If you haven’t been to Global Gifts, Columbus’ go-to fair-trade gift shop, you are in for a treat! From the moment you walk in, you’re transported to another place. Handmade toys, jewelry, ceramics, and home goods line the walls of this non-profit retail store. Customers can feel good knowing that products in the store are certified fair-trade by artisans from developing countries around the world. Alissa, the Store Manager, along with her small staff and team of 40+ volunteers create a welcome atmosphere for visitors in this Short North gem.


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Alissa, a former Outlaw herself, has been managing the Short North Global Gifts store since it opened in 2014. Early in her maker career, she was a fiber artist and understood the importance of fair wages for handmade work. On a larger scale, fair trade incorporates principles like safe working conditions, avoiding child labor, environmental sustainability, and gender equality. Global Gifts is part of a trade organization that authenticates the fair trade products found in their store.

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One unique aspect of this non-profit retail gift shop is their workforce – Global Gifts supplements their small staff with un-paid volunteers and a handful of interns. Volunteers are often customers who are fascinated with the concept and choose to donate their time. They assist with customer service, sales, merchandising, receiving product, and special events. Becoming a volunteer is easy – visit the Global Gifts volunteer page to access a short application then attend a brief orientation to learn more about fair-trade and get your assignment.

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Since opening, Global Gifts has been part of a larger fair-trade movement happening in Columbus. They are members of Fair-Trade Columbus, an effort to bring more fair-trade product to the local business community. Throughout the year, Global Gifts supports other non-profit organizations through fundraisers and banquets to help spread the word about fair-trade. During events like Gallery Hop, they make special accommodations for some local makers, often refugee art groups, to sell their handmade goods directly to customers. One recent addition to the Global Gifts shelves is Eleventh Candle Company, who employs survivors of human trafficking and supports orphaned children in Ethiopia.

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The biggest night of the month for Global Gifts is always Gallery Hop. On the first Saturday of every month, retailers and restaurants in the Short North open their doors and invite visitors to experience the culture of Columbus. Global Gifts always offers free coffee and treat samples. Depending on the day, you can also hear music playing, try your luck at a giveaway, or take home something special from their demos and make-and-takes.

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Treat yourself with a visit to Global Gifts during their store hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday/Saturday 11am-10pm, and Sunday 11am-7pm. They are currently running their annual Rug Event, featuring hand-knotted area rugs and runners from around the world. Alissa is especially excited about new spring clothing that debuts in mid-March and shoes that will hit the shop in April. Keep up with Global Gift’s constantly changing inventory via Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Learn more about all 4 Global Gifts locations by visiting their website:

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