By LINDSAY WELBERS
The Fair Trader closed up shop last weekend.
“We’re closing because we don’t have enough business to stay open. That’ll do the trick,” co-owner Cindy Pardo said. “Between the economy and the high cost of rent and I’m not sure what else we just are not able to keep the doors open.”
The Fair Trader, 1623 E. 55th St., was Chicago’s first retail store that exclusively sold Fair Trade products. Fair Trade certification ensures that the artisans and farmers who produced each product, often overseas, were treated ethically and paid fairly in the process.
Pardo said she and her business partners, Evelyn Johnson and Madiera Myrieckes, will reconsider opening the store in another way.
“We’ll step back and see what we might be able to do that might not be so expensive every month,” Pardo said. “All three of us would like to keep doing Fair Trade work. Maybe a pop up shop, maybe churches who do socially responsible fairs. Those are kind of options that we’ve thought about, but when you’re struggling to pay the rent you can’t afford new merchandise to sell.”
Pardo said she’s seen shoppers with less money to spend each Christmas for the last few years. The store’s sales are down over 20 percent from last year.
“We certainly would like to say thank you for the support that you have given us, it has been wonderful to have the positive kind of response that you have given us,” Pardo said. “We hope that they will continue to look for places to shop where they can feel comfortable with the circumstances things are made under. We will try to figure out a way to do something else with Fair Trade in the area.”