Fair-trade shop gives to NUMAS Haus

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt New Ulm’s Own gave $1,500 to NUMAS Haus Wednesday as the first donation from money raised at the nonprofit fair-trade store. Pictured left to right: NUO board member Bernice Schmitz, NUO board member Jeanie Hinsman, NUMAS Haus President JoAnne Taylor, shelter coordinator Karla Diehn, artist Sue Kral and volunteer Sharon Holzer.

NEW ULM — After seven months New Ulm’s Own (NUO) made its first donation of $1,500 to NUMAS Haus Wednesday.

The 501(c)3 nonprofit, fair-trade market raises money on the products it sells to donate to local charities. For its first year, the market was dedicated to giving to NUMAS Haus.

“People who come in generally are excited about the kind of merchandise that we have and the effort to be good global citizens,” Board member Jeanie Hinsman said.

The shop opened in May of last year for World Fair Trade Day. It specializes in goods handcrafted by producers in Third-World countries to support workers around the globe.

Local artists are displayed in the shop to sell their goods as well. So far, the shop has made $2,400 for local artists who show their work in the market.

Since its inception, the market has grown to 11 volunteers. The biggest challenge has been predicting what items do well with customers.

“We have learned, in the past seven months of business, what products customers are looking for and we are always expanding and looking for new things to have in the store,” Hinsman who spearheaded organizing the store, said.

The shop is getting two new suppliers, Ganesh Himal and Handmade Expressions. They ship products from India and will expand the shop’s stock of children’s items.

The most popular products tend to be baskets, jewelry, art and foodstuffs, Hinsman said.

“Our chocolate just goes off the shelf like crazy,” Hinsman said.

One of the most popular food products is the fair-trade coffee. Blends from different nations are stocked and have become so popular the market has started a coffee club.

“There are more coffees than we can keep in stock,” Hinsman said.

The club has a monthly featured coffee and members can get a free bag for every 11 they purchase.

On the other hand, the shop also has had surprises with some of the products that were popular.

Paper Christmas decorations and journals from company Poo Poo Paper, which makes paper products from elephant dung among other kinds, was one that surprised Hinsman.

“As soon as people saw them, they went,” Hinsman said.

The market is still looking for a couple more volunteers. It is located at 212 N. Minnesota St., open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

Contact the market at (507) 354-3458 or via email at newulmsown@gmail.com. More information can be found at newulmsown.yolasite.com.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.