Future of Fair-Trade


Dan Alonso

CEO of Ten Thousand Villages Dan Alonso

Ten Thousand Villages

Dan Alonso, CEO of Ten Thousand Villages, will share, “Designing the Future of Fair-Trade Retail in the U.S.,” during Bluffton’s Forum at 11 a.m. on Feb. 27 in Stutzman Lecture Hall. 

During the event, the fair-trade advocate will share his journey of volunteer service to leadership for the organization that transforms the lives of artisans around the world. This Forum also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Ten Thousand Villages. 

According to Bluffton First Mennonite Church, FMC opened the first fair-trade storefront in the country in 1974. The effort was led by the late Lois Kreider, wife of Bluffton’s sixth president, Robert Kreider. 

The store was named Self Help Crafts. At the same time, a thrift store called Etcetera was opened to raise money to buy inventory for Self Help Crafts. Renamed Ten Thousand Villages in 1996, the fair-trade store now sells products from 30 countries worldwide, empowering workers to raise their standard of living, feed their families and pursue an education. Ten Thousand Villages storefronts can now be found across the country. 

This event is free and open to the public. Forum at Bluffton University provides a public space for interdisciplinary discovery about the personal, local and global challenges faced by students, faculty, staff and the Bluffton community.