ten thousand villages canada

Ten Thousand Villages to close almost all stores across Canada

The quaint and charming store that always has the perfect birthday gift for your mom has sadly announced that they'll be ceasing all corporate operations in Canada. 

Ten Thousand Villages' head office, distribution centre in New Hamburg, Ont., the Ten Thousand Villages Canada webstore, wholesale operations and 10 remaining company stores will all shut down later this year, according to a news release on the company's website.

"In this challenging retail environment, we recognize your commitment, support and dedication to the success of Ten Thousand Villages Canada," the statement reads.

"However, in spite of all our best efforts, we have been unable to achieve the level of sales that would continue to provide us with the ability to operate a sustainable business model."

Ten Thousand Villages has been around for 74 years, and its creation was the dream of Edna Ruth Byler back in 1946. 

"She believed that all people deserved to earn a fair and stable income, through the dignity of work," the release explains.

Based on her dream, Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCCC) launched the fair trade movement and created a market for handcrafted products made in developing countries around the world.

MCC has now made the difficult decision to close their social enterprise, Ten Thousand Villages Canada, in light of the endlessly challenging retail market. 

And sadly, it seems they've been struggling for quite some time. 

Back in 2018, after an in-depth review of profitability of Ten Thousand Villages stores across Canada, MCC announced they'd be closing nine stores throughout the country. 

Now, they'll be forced to close even more stores, and their anticipated last day of retail operations is May 29. 

Under the current business model, there are a selection of stores that are owned and operated by separate boards — some of which have the means to remain open. 

Stores that are run separately from the corporate operations of Ten Thousand Villages Canada and will remain open past May 29 include those in Abbotsford, Edmonton, Calgary, Steinback, Brandon, Cobourg and Point Claire.

"In our 74th year, we are proud to say that we have empowered over 100,000 makers around the world to earn a fair and stable income, share their craft with a global market, gain access to education and medical services, better working conditions, equal opportunities for women and so much more," the release notes.

"And the truth is, none of this would have been possible without the passion and dedication of our staff, volunteers and most importantly, you, our loyal customers."

Lead photo by

Wikimedia Commons

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