This article first appeared in Thriving! magazine and was written by Molly Crouser, Special Events Manager at the Lancaster Chamber. Thriving! magazine is a quarterly magazine by the Lancaster Chamber published by Hoffman Publishing Group. Explore the new January 2020 issue in its entirety online here.
Cover photo: decor from Ten Thousand Villages.
Lancaster County is uniquely positioned. The intersection of private and public sector is intentionally aligned in our communities, a notion that’s a part of our common narrative. But what does it look like when we think about how Lancaster is intertwined with the rest of the world?
Across the County, the intersection of how business works and what community is doing has been case studied in articles from sources like the New York Times, Forbes, and Conde Nast Traveler. We’re often mentioned as the unlikely spot—the place to get Pennsylvania Dutch tradition (a culture all its own) paired with a worldly perspective full of diverse food, shopping, a welcoming culture and a thriving economy. To help tell this story of our dichotomy of identity and how Lancaster is connected to the rest of the world, I’ve enlisted the help of three Lancaster County businesses and organizations that are doing the work of representing Lancaster in the world and creating economic impact in our communities.
Ten Thousand Villages
Q&A with Gordon Zook, CEO, & Val Schade, Brand Engagement
& Media Relations Lead
What is the mission of Ten Thousand Villages?
Schade: Ten Thousand Villages’ mission is to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income and break the cycle of poverty by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair-trading relationships. We disrupt the cycle of generational poverty through a model that fully subsidizes the fair-trade process.
What impact does Ten Thousand Villages have on our local economy?
Zook: We are the first fair-trade model on record; our model was built on Lancaster County values and ingenuity over 70 years ago. It started with one compassionate, inventive woman in 1946 and grew to become a global movement. It was a simple idea that is changing the world and breaking the cycle of poverty. Our Lancaster county stores employ 17 staff supported by numerous volunteers who are committed to our mission. We have 75 employees at our home office in Akron and our warehouse in Brownstown; their salaries and wages are a direct input into the local economy.
What impact does Ten Thousand Villages have on the global economy?
Zook: Ten Thousand Villages has been impacting the global economy since 1946. Our unique fair-trade business model has resulted in enduring business partnerships with artisan groups all over the world. In the past 16 years, our direct, non-interest bearing, upfront payments have amounted to $99 million in international purchases. This means that artisans have been able to put food on their table, send children to school, pay for medical care, and invest in expanding their businesses and making them sustainable.
What are the countries Ten Thousand Villages has the greatest “relationships” with?
Schade: We work with so many incredibly talented artisans from thirty different countries. Each artisan group has its own strengths and unique artforms. However, the country where we have the most artisan group partners is India. The country with the longest ongoing relationship is Bangladesh (we’ve been partnering with an artisan group in Bangladesh called Corr – The Jute Works since 1974!).
How do you see this movement, and Ten Thousand Villages, moving in the future?
Zook: We believe that the future of the fair-trade movement is a strong one. As consumers become more aware of the impact their purchases make on the environment and on the lives of the people who make what they buy, there has been an increased interest in ethical shopping in the United States.
Shop Ten Thousand Villages to support the mission or find a store near you by visiting tenthousandvillages.com.
Church World Service
Q&A with Stephanie Gromek, Development and
What is the mission of Church World Service?
Gromek: Church World Service (CWS) Lancaster is committed to showing welcome to refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers from across the globe, assisting them to rebuild their lives, and equipping them for long-term success as they integrate within their new communities.
What impact does CWS’ work have on our local economy?
Gromek: One program of CWS is the Employment program, which works with refugees and immigrants to become self-sufficient as quickly as possible. CWS Employment program works with countless employers throughout the South-Central PA region, and across all sectors of industry. Through these partnerships, CWS has worked to fill countless job vacancies across the county and has attracted the interest of outside businesses to the county because of its workforce. Likewise, employers have provided employment opportunity for refugees and immigrants to become economic contributors to the communities that have welcomed them. It is through these employers that refugees and immigrants can become fully economically contributing members of the Lancaster community. Finally, refugees and immigrants bring many social and cultural values to their new communities. These assets are often immeasurable, yet incredibly impactful as the global world is brought to local communities. Without a welcoming community, refugees and immigrants would not be able to adjust as quickly, nor as well as they do in communities. One shining example of this is of course, Lancaster County.
How do you feel that a diverse community makes Lancaster feel more global?
Gromek: The work that CWS does brings a global situation, local—and allows the local community to become a part of the work that is being done as a part of the solution. I’ll never forget one springtime late morning as I was driving into the office, and I was at a red light. I looked down the road, and there were 3 brightly dressed Somali woman dressed head to toe in colors so vibrant and beautiful, with their dresses blowing in the breeze—laughing with each other as they walked to their destination. I thought to myself, first how wonderful it would be to be walking with friends on this beautiful spring day, but second how incredible it was that I was a part of the welcoming of them to Lancaster.”
If you want to learn more about Church World Service, visit cwsglobal.org.
Q&A with Timbrel Chyatee, Owner
What is the mission of Lush Bazaar? What do you do?
Chyatee: Lush Bazaar is an ethical lifestyle brand. The goal of Lush Bazaar is to make it easier for individuals to shop with the triple bottom line in mind; people, planet & profit. Each product at Lush Bazaar is ethically designed, created or produced to help our [local] economy and the global economy. We began working in India and now will be working in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Burma in the year 2020, helping individuals of lesser means be able to provide for themselves and their families. Our profits are put back into our communities and economy.
What is the impact that Lush Bazaar makes on the communities you are partnered with elsewhere?
Chyatee: Illiteracy is a common issue for many individuals of past generations, which makes it harder for them to get jobs or support their families. This issue can be passed onto the future generation if finances are low. Being able to provide fair-wage jobs has given my employees a chance to educate their children and help change the course of the future generation. I also work closely with women of abuse and widows who in many circumstances are not able to come out of their situations. Being able to help these women and see them help their children and move forward with their lives and future is a positive impact in the communities I work in.
How do you feel that a diverse community makes Lancaster feel more global?
Chyatee: To see culture and diversity shining bright in Lancaster make this city feel more welcoming and helps share our beautiful city to the world. The more we as individuals and business owners support culture and educate ourselves about culture the more our city will grow, our economy will thrive and the recognition for the most welcoming city in America will be celebrated. I believe that diversity leads to growth and a stronger economy and community. Many individuals in our community are willing to share their culture, cuisine and traditions in our community and it is our job as a strong and accepting community to support them and learn from them.
Shop Lush Bazaar by visiting them at 50 N. Queen Street in Lancaster or at lushbazaar.com.
It takes a keen sense of community, paired with worldly passion, to create impact not only locally but across the globe. It is humbling to be a part of a community that is devoted to blending 300 years of history with a welcoming attitude towards new neighbors across our county, while forging new and innovative paths to economic growth in Lancaster. Interested in learning more about how you can get involved with the movement? Shop at our local stores, dine with a diverse cuisine, create business processes that make it easier to employ our new neighbors, travel to new places, learn more about our local history—find ways to share your Lancaster story with the world!
Be Inspired By 3 Stories Showing How These Organizations Make Big Impact
Uganda Crafts, which has been a Ten Thousand Villages partner in Uganda since 1995, was founded by an amazing woman named Betty Kinene.
Betty was a single mother with a physical disability and no income for herself when she teamed up with a UNICEF worker to help other women in her community who lacked employment opportunities. Together they started Uganda Crafts, a small craft shop run as a nonprofit, employing and supporting women – especially single mothers, widows, and women with disabilities.
After Ten Thousand Villages formed a partnership with the craftswomen of Uganda Crafts, the group was able to become a private organization with a sustainable business model. They now have successful retail shops in Uganda, as well as a robust export business, and are a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. They remain committed to the ethical principles that were at the heart of Uganda Craft’s founding.
Uganda Crafts was founded by a local woman, continues to be locally run, and has since expanded to hire more women. The income provided by basket weaving allows mothers to put food on the table and send their children to school.
When Betty, a polio survivor, tells the story of her life’s challenges and how Uganda Crafts has impacted her and the community, she says, “Now, I stand on my own.”
In 2012, after spending time as a real estate broker, Konstantin and three other partners founded a construction company Horizon General Contractors, LLC that would specialize in food service renovations in hospitals, senior living communities, corporate dining and educational establishments. Short time later, they also branched out into food service millwork/cabinetry manufacturing, so we renamed the company to Horizon Hospitality Solutions, LLC.
In 2018, Horizon Hospitality Solutions, LLC. had $7 million in revenues and in 2019 was ranked #19 on Central Penn Journal’s 50 fastest growing companies list. Horizon Hospitality Solutions, LLC employs 30 local workers.
His other siblings also obtained 4-year college degrees, including education in Structural Engineering, Nursing – and another sibling with a knack for entrepreneurship!
For Konstantin and his family, Lancaster County has been an incredibly welcoming community.
Jaweed Khan is an employee that has worked with Lush Bazaar for 4 years. Jaweed started learning how to sew when he was 7 years old and because of financial reasons he was unable to continue his education and started working in sweatshops in Mumbai at the age of 9. He worked in various areas in a sweatshop. Every two years, Jaweed would have to quit his job and start over again because of the way he was mistreated. He got married, had 5 children and was living below the poverty range. He had talent, he had experience, but that did not matter in the world of fast fashion.
After working for Lush Bazaar he was able to send all his children to school, he was able to pay for one daughter to get married and is waiting for his other daughter be married in 2020. He is now a grandfather and is able to save money and provide for his family. He recently bought a new motorcycle that he can travel back and forth to work.
Jaweed is looking to work for Lush Bazaar until he’s “old and gray and cannot see how to put a thread in a needle” as he likes to say.
Want to join the Chamber? We would love to discuss how we can best serve you and elevate your business. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.