Greetings! The new year finds in us a new phase of working toward opening our store. I want to share our accomplishments of last year, as well the challenges that lie before us as we move forward.
Last year we made significant progress in our work to bring a Ten Thousand Villages store to State College. Much of our efforts focused on raising startup capital for the store. We set a goal of raising $50,000, knowing that once we reached that amount we would become eligible for a matching grant — from Mennonite Central Committee — providing an additional $50,000 to help with the costs of opening a store. I am pleased to report that we exceeded our goal and currently have just over $70,000 in our bank account! This money was raised from the sales we held, as well as generous donations from individuals, faith organizations, and businesses.
Now we are searching for the right store front location. Aiming for 1,200 to 1,500 sq ft of retail space, our search committee met with a commercial real estate professional. The market in State College is challenging—both in terms of the amount of retail space available that would meet our needs and the cost of leasing that space. While we remain hopeful, we realize that it may take some time to find the right space for the Ten Thousand Villages store. If you become aware of available retail space that might meet our needs, please reach out to me (email@example.com) and I will pass your information on to our committee.While we search for the right store location, we will continue to promote fair trade, raising both awareness and start-up capital via pop-up sales and other events. Watch for event notices via email and our Facebook page.Thanks again for your continued support of our work!
Joel Weidner, Board Chair, Ten Thousand Villages of Central PA, Inc