Global Gifts, a Fair Trade Store Supporting Artisans, Closes Bloomington Location

Staff report

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — December 29, 2023

The Global Gifts store bid farewell to its Bloomington location this Friday, leaving a void in the downtown area. Specializing in selling handmade items sourced from various corners of the globe, the closure marks another departure in a string of businesses vacating downtown Bloomington in recent years.

Despite its affiliation with a non-profit headquartered in Indianapolis, the store did not host a closing sale. According to an employee, this decision was made to ensure that all proceeds from the sales directly reached the artisans who meticulously crafted the items. However, the exact reason for the closure remains undisclosed, with no closure notices posted on the store’s doors.

The employee revealed that the remaining inventory would be transferred to the two Indianapolis locations following the closure. Meanwhile, a ‘for rent’ sign already adorns the Bloomington establishment.

Adjacent to the shuttered Global Gifts store, was an individual wrapped in a sleeping bag, seeking refuge from the elements as sleet descended. Instances of citizens experiencing homelessness taking refuge in unoccupied buildings have risen, sometimes resulting in dangerous situations such as fires being accidentally ignited in empty buildings.

Authorities have reported incidents of trespassing-related arrests due to unauthorized fires, notably an incident involving a woman arrested on charges of trespassing after igniting a fire inside a vacant house.

Closed tents are illegal on city property in Bloomington.

The closure of Global Gifts adds to a larger trend of downtown businesses relocating or shutting down, often displaced due to real estate development. Formerly bustling establishments like Howard’s Books, Athena, Players Pub, Rachael’s Cafe, and Max’s have all ceased operations. Additionally, the closure of Rhino’s, once a haven for disenfranchised youth, was replaced by an apartment building.

In a statement on its website, Global Gifts reaffirmed its commitment to supporting disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide. The organization operates as a non-profit, aiming to create sustainable economic opportunities while ensuring fair wages and equitable working conditions for artisans. Their Fair Trade model ensures ethical production practices and cultural respect while fostering support for marginalized communities and environmental sustainability.

For now, the spirit of Global Gifts lives on through its Indianapolis locations:

  • Nora Shops
    • Address: 8519 Westfield Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46240
    • Phone: (317) 569-0670
    • Hours: Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm, Sat: 10am-5pm, Sun: Closed
  • Downtown
    • Address: 446 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
    • Phone: (317) 423-3148
    • Hours: Tue-Sat: 11am-8pm, Sun: 11am-6pm, Mon: Closed

Despite the closure of the Bloomington store, Global Gifts continues its mission, relying on volunteers, donors, and customers to sustain its support for artisan communities worldwide.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: A person sleeps on the sidewalk next to Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: A person sleeps on the sidewalk next to Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: Front of Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: Shoppers fill Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: Items for sale at Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: Items for sale at Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: Items for sale at Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: Items for sale at Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 29: A woman shops at Global Gifts during the last few hours of its operation in Bloomington on December 28, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. The store on the square was closing permanently on Saturday, and its merchandise would be shifted to remaining stores in Indianapolis, according to a worker. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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