Fair trade store in New London gets second chance

December 26, 2012 by  

It looks like New London city resident Ellen Cummings will require new digital business cards soon, if she has not ordered them already. Despite having no previous experience in retail, Cummings jumped at the chance to take over the Flavours of Life gift shop from David Lewis and Marcie Boyer.

Lewis and Boyer, strong proponents of the fair-trade movement, opened the store eight year earlier. At that time, the ethical movement was not well known in southeastern Connecticut. However, fair trade struck a chord with Cummings who, when she heard the shop was going to close, decided it was time step up and do her part.

Among any business cards Ellen Cummings formerly owned would have listed her as an early childhood educator and, lately, would have included her as the director of Mitchell College Children’s Learning Center. Now, as proprietress of Flavours of Life, she enters a new chapter of her life.

With 1,200 square feet, the store is resplendent with scarves, wooden bowls, jewelry, belts, and handbags to name only a portion of the goods. Cummings says she loves that all the goods meet the fair-trade principles of avoiding child labor and promoting sustainable practices, fair wages, and good working conditions.

Cummings likens New London to her native Portland, Maine. She is encouraged by recent changes to her new hometown as she sees the downtown becoming more dynamic. She is enthusiastic about the store and hopes the trend of new small shops and restaurants opening up in the area will continue.