Bangladesh Artisans

TOP - Exterior shot of mill“This is where you belong,” a customer said, when she discovered the Ten Thousand Villages location in St. Jacobs, Ontario had just opened this past May.

Back when Ten Thousand Villages (then known as SelfHelp Crafts) was just beginning, one of the first Canadian locations was in The Mill in St. Jacobs. Over the years, the store moved around the village, and finally settled down to become what is now the Waterloo store.

The St. Jacobs Mill is a beautifully restored historic building perched on the Conestoga River, with local and Canadian artisan weavers and potters tucked snugly in the silos. A local artist hosts his gallery next to the silos, and three museum displays and a model train fill the majority of the building. The street side entrance welcomes visitors with Scottish treasures, and is once again home to Ten Thousand Villages.
St. Jacobs is a welcoming, tiny town. Since the store opened two months ago, there have been nothing but warm and welcoming gestures from customers and neighbours alike. Most of our customers are tourists – from all over the province, country, and frequently Europe and Australia – many of whom have never heard of Fair Trade. It is a privilege to tell the stories of our artisans, while sharing Ten Thousand Villages’ mission to such diverse people.

The general tourist draw of St. Jacobs is the Old Order Mennonite and Amish community. Ten Thousand Villages shares a history and partnership with the Old Order Mennonites through Mennonite Central Committee,  and tourists are interested in this connection of Anabaptism and social justice. It’s therefore a rewarding location, interacting with locals and tourists together. Locals frequently share their delight – and some stories from the early SelfHelp days – at Ten Thousand Villages’ return to the area.

“I’m glad you’re here. Welcome back.”

It’s wonderful to be part of this community.


tagua-cluster-bracelet- Background short re-cycle-sculpture Background short gone-fishing-game
 Tagua Cluster Bracelet  Re-Cycle Sculpture  Gone Fishing Game

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