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Ten Thousand Villages State College Celebrates One Year Anniversary

by and on September 20, 2019 4:00 AM

On Sept. 15, Ten Thousand Villages State College marked its one-year anniversary since opening the retail store at 1341 S. Atherton St. Organizers of the nonprofit operating the Centre Region’s only fair-trade retailer said they are proud of their first year’s accomplishments.

“We are so excited to celebrate our one-year anniversary," Joel Weidner, chairman of the Ten Thousand Villages State College board, said in a press release. "It was a leap of faith to open the store in State College, hoping we would see support from the community. The response has been overwhelming. We are grateful and want to say thank you to everyone who helped make our first year a success.”

To thank patrons who have made it possible, TTVSC is celebrating with “Here’s to a Year,” from Friday, Sept. 20 to Sunday, Sept. 22. This weekend of events and performances highlights the organization’s “ethical at every step” approach.

Since opening, the store has supported artisans in more than 30 countries.

“State College is recognized as one of the few Fair-Trade Towns in the United States, and this community’s reception of Ten Thousand Villages shows why," store manager Kieran Holland said. "The Centre Region has embraced our fair-trade, maker-centered business model. And that has allowed us to impact more than 1,500 artisans around the developing world. ‘Here’s to a Year’ is our way of giving back to all the community members who have supported us.”

“One of the best things we did in the first year was to hire Kiernan,” said Weidner. “It is obvious that this is not just a job to him, but a total commitment to all that the Ten Thousand Villages model stands for.”

Assistant store manager Jenn Miller came to State College with a history of having managed a Ten Thousand Villages Store in Pittsburgh. She is a valuable addition to the State College location, according to Weidner.

“I do a lot of outreach and was recently in Baltimore to visit a store there. I travel to Danville, Indiana and Altoona in the interest of Ten Thousand Villages,” said assistant board chair Jean Landis. “The volunteers are a huge part of our success. We could not have done so well without their help.”

On Friday, Sept. 20, the crew at TTVSC has planned a champagne toast and a free vocal performance by local artists Anchor and Arrow at 5 p.m. The non-profit Taproot Kitchen will provide the refreshments.

Saturday, Sept. 21 looks to be just as exciting with an alpaca petting zoo in partnership with Warriors Mark Alpacas at noon and a jewelry making workshop with designs inspired by rug patterns from noon to 2 p.m. The Weaving Wisdom bracelet making class is scheduled for 3 p.m., and the Camerata Amistad ensemble will round out Saturday’s celebration with their performance at 5 p.m.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, theater company FUSE Productions and its youth musical theater studio Singing Onstage will entertain shoppers and visitors at 1 p.m.

Ten Thousand Villages State College brings sustainably created fair-trade goods sourced from all over the world to the Centre Region. The organization is dedicated to developing lasting partnerships with artisans, empowering workers and providing fair wages. This, in turn, allows artisans to provide better healthcare and educational opportunities to their families. The model also strengthens communities and supports indigenous crafts.

The merchandise does not have to come from the Ten Thousand Villages stores. Cindy and Eric Noel have introduced “Sowing Seeds in Belize” products to the State College store. The store stocks paper from the Mingo Company. Campbell Plowden, executive director of the Center for Amazon Community Ecology, has introduced items from the Amazon area as well.

One of the unique items in the store is a stuffed alpaca – there’s even a contest underway to name it. And yes, there are alpaca items in the store such as socks and slippers.

For more details about the celebration and the store, visit the Ten Thousand Villages State College Facebook page or go to

The store is located at 1341 S. Atherton St., State College. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Volunteers are still needed at Ten Thousand Villages State College. The expectation is that a volunteer will work at least eight hours per month, or two hours a week. The store would also like to see more board members for the organization.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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