Virginia-Highland store to close after nearly 30 years


Virginia-Highland store to close after nearly 30 years

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The Ten Thousand Villages Virginia Highlands store featured artwork from several countries in this January 2013 photo. Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer that sells artisan-crafted home decor, personal accessories and gift items from across the globe.

Ten Thousand Villages, a decades-old store in Atlanta, announced Thursday that it will close in late February.

Co-founders Karen Gross and Marg Lambert opened a store called Window to the World on St. Charles Avenue in Virginia-Highland in 1993. They changed the name of the business when it joined the national Ten Thousand Villages nonprofit in 1996. 

The nonprofit organization provides fair wages through Alternative Trade Organizations to those creating handcrafted artisan items in more than 40 developing countries.

The store model was “unable to compete considering the current conditions” of retail, according to a press release.

“While it is difficult to lose our roots in Virginia-Highland and disband our volunteer family as we know it today, we have not been able to fund business solutions to support our mission,” the statement said. “The retail landscape is changing rapidly and Virginia-Highland has not escaped this trend.”

The business operated with a small staff and volunteers. It will close Feb. 25.

“We choose to look at this as a celebration of our success and with hope for the future of other fair traders,” the statement said.

Inventory is currently 35 percent off, and 75 percent off holiday items. Incremental markdowns will continue until all merchandise is 75 percent off; that timing will be dictated by how quickly items sell. A spokeswoman said she anticipates items to be discounted by 50 percent by Feb. 1.

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