Ten Thousand Villages is literally bursting at the seams. The nonprofit, fair-trade retail store currently on South Congress Avenue is chock-full of artisan-crafted goods from around the world; every corner of the shop is filled with jewelry, scarves, bags, artwork, wooden bowls, baskets, toys, tableware and more. But the store is about to nearly double in size with a move to Burnet Road.
Store Manager Kitty Bird says that when Ten Thousand Villages started looking at expanding the space, it also made sense to look at rental prices and parking issues, which have become a big issue on SoCo.
Ultimately, when everything was taken into consideration, relocating the store to 4803 Burnet Rd. (between Noble Sandwich Co. and Fork & Taco) made the most sense. It's one of Austin's most recently re-energized and thriving neighborhoods, and Bird says that the area better mirrors the customer demographic of Ten Thousand Villages.
The nearly doubling of square footage (2,600 square feet in the new space) will allow the store to not only expand retail space for current inventory, but to add new offerings such as furniture, clothing and footwear. The new store will also have a chocolate bar, where customers can taste and select from 13 flavors from around the globe.
"It's very exciting to expand our store in Austin," Bird says. "Our larger store will give us much more space to do what we do best! Coming up this year we will celebrate the countries where our artisans work with events featuring music, food and shopping. We will host monthly events focusing on countries and cultures and provide much more display space for our beautiful handmade furniture, housewares and jewelry. I'm excited for a chance to engage our Austin customers and create lasting relationships and connections right here at home."
"In the new store we will support local musicians who have a global sound by playing and selling their music," adds Bird. "Bands such as Atash, Wino Vino and Grupo Fantasma will be part of the regular rotation. We also work hard to bring our global mission local by supporting Austin nonprofits through shopping benefit nights."
In anticipation of the move, volunteers have been hard at work getting the new space ready. Recently, members of the band The Northerners, spent the day painting before playing at The Saxon Pub.
The band ran a crowd-funding campaign for its tour and is giving back by doing community service work at each tour stop. "Our volunteer time at TTV was great," says David Lavan, manager of The Northerners. "When we set out to do volunteering along with our normal touring schedule, we knew it would be hard work. The time with Kitty and the Austin TTV crew was laid-back and allowed us to help out a great cause without breaking our backs!"
Ten Thousand Villages is also running a fundraising campaign to help cover remodeling and moving costs to relocate the store to Burnet Road. The nonprofit does not receive grants or any sort of foundation or government funding. Its entire existence relies on product purchases, which help provide long-term sustainable income to under-employed artisans so they can earn a living wage, provide for their families and send their children to school.
The grand opening is expected to take place in early March. Keep up with the timeline and announcements here.