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Ohio State coffee shop promotes Fair Trade principles

Brent Hankins / Lantern reporter

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Global Gallery at Ohio State, a Fair Trade emporium located in the basement of Campbell Hall on Neil Avenue, recently launched an ad campaign targeted for students in a rush for coffee on the way to class.
However, the ads are less about wooing customers from the other cafés and more about bringing people into the student-run retail internship Global Gallery to teach them about Fair Trade products, said Connie De Jong, executive director of Global Gallery.
Fair Trade is a movement that focuses on working with people who live in extreme poverty, living on $2 or less a day, and helping them have a source of income and improve their standard of living through selling their wares to organizations such as Global Gallery, De Jong said.
The ads, posted on bulletin boards in the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, ask readers if they are tired of long lines at other cafés and direct them to the Global Gallery for their coffee instead.
“We are not looking at any campaign as a direct competition; really we’re just trying to raise awareness of where we are because the store is in an off-the-beaten-path location,” De Jong said.
Amy Farrar, a second-year in hospitality management, and Emily Marshall, a second-year in fashion and retail studies, are both managers at Global Gallery.
Despite the ads, traffic has increased only a small amount, Farrar said.
Marshall said the on-campus Global Gallery only receives roughly 10 customers a day.
“We’re providing coffee and snacks as kind of a way to start a discussion about Fair Trade,” De Jong said.
The Global Gallery, which began in the Short North in 1991, is a nonprofit organization that sells fair trade merchandise at multiple locations around Columbus.
Part of Global Gallery’s mission is to increase awareness of Fair Trade as well as to serve for a training ground for students interested in running their own store in the future, De Jong said. Global Gallery at OSU opened in April 2011.
“It’s a whole student-run store,” Marshall said. “You basically get to learn how to pick merchandise, how to run the cash register, how to interact with customers, and it’s also Fair Trade, so you’re learning a different business practice, so I think you learn a lot.”
The internship program must be approved by the university every semester to continue, but Farrar said she hopes it will become a permanent class and the Global Gallery location on campus will become permanent as well.
Mary Sanders, a third-year in fashion and retail studies, is an employee at the store this semester and is enrolled in the internship class. It’s more than just a regular retail job, Sanders said.
“When you work a retail job, you know, most of them are run by corporate offices and they just tell you what to do, but this one it’s kind of up to us to figure out how to do everything,” she said.
Sanders said all the students running the store are like “acting owners” who get to decide how things are done in the store.
Global Gallery is located in the basement of Campbell Hall and can be most easily accessed from the north side of the building. The store is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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