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Store earns green ‘Seal of Approval’

By Staff | Dec 17, 2010

(Chronicle photo by Jim Whipple) Katherine Austin searches for stocking stuffers at Tenfold Fair Trade in Harpers Ferry. The store carries products from all over the world including third-world countries.

HARPERS FERRY – Tenfold Fair Trade Collection has been awarded the Green America Business Seal of Approval.

According to a press release, the seal is given to businesses that go beyond everyday practices to give the highest standards in environmental sustainability and social justice and strives to solve social problems and environmental issues.

“We are very excited to earn this coveted Seal of Approval,” said Martha Ehlman, founder of Tenfold Fair Trade Collection. “It’s one of the most respected and recognized symbols in the green marketplace and a powerful way to set Tenfold apart as a leader in its field.”

Ehlman strives to provide her customers with fun and practical products which make creative use of many recycled materials.

“Every effort is made to use recycled or sustainable materials, from consignment finds for our displays, to our handmade cabinetry crafted of local pine,” she said.

Ehlman sells products such as purses made out of soda bottle tops, tote bags from Uganda made from old telephone books and many other knick knacks. Almost all of the store’s inventory comes from third-world nations.

Ehlman learned about fair trade through her church, the Damascus United Methodist Church. The church dealt with fair-trade organizations in getting coffee from South America.

“The mission programs in my church were funded by what we call festival sales,” Ehlman said.

After getting products from Serve International, the mission would sell the items and be able to keep profits to fund the missionary program.

So when the store became available, her husband, Ron, and a friend urged her to open a store with the fair-trade products.

“I heard about Tenfold Fair Trade Collection shop from several of my friends. It’s a very unique shop and a great place to get gifts that are made from all over the world. It’s just a great little to shop,” said Katherine Austin, a first-time customer.

The fair-trade products come from a group of businesses that have banded together throughout the United States. The goal of the group is to bring fair trade to a lot of the third-world countries. And the store only offers products that are Fair-Trade Certified or from wholesalers of the Fair-Trade Federation.

The Green Business Network (GBN), which awarded its seal of approval to Tenfold, offers a vibrant community of over 4,000 environmentally and socially responsible businesses, the oldest and largest of its kind in the United States, according to a press release.

“Tenfold Fair Trade Collection has a lot to offer. The Fair-Trade Federation wants to make sure that the sources where I’m getting my materials are really, truly following the principles of fair trade,” Ehlman said. “The shop has started to have regular costumers who came back looking for new things.”

The shop is located at 181A Potomac Street in Harpers Ferry.

For more information, call 304-579-8925.