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Springfield, MO

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A Conversation With ... David Crump

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Tell us about Global Fayre, the store you and wife Cheri opened in 2007.
The core (of) Global Fayre is that we're a fair-trade store. ... Fair trade is about dealing with producer groups and growers in developing countries and treating them with dignity and respect in a way that they haven't been dealt with previously. What most people do know about fair trade is the fair price, outside of the things like coffee, tea and chocolate, and we (do) have those. Typically, somebody working in a fair trade environment will get something like three to five times as much as the prevailing wage, so it's a colossal difference. A lot of (fair trade), though, is empowerment. ... We want women to be treated equally. We don't want kids to be abused (or) forced into slave labor, and we want (people) to treat the environment with respect, so lot of our food products are organic. A lot of our nonfood products are reusing (materials) like recycled newspaper or whatever materials they have around.

How did you become interested in fair trade?
In Europe, before I came here, I worked for large corporations, mostly in the beverage industry, so I was jam-packed right in the middle of the supply chain that relies on squeezing people down the chain more and more so that you can get the margin you want and the price from the consumer that you want. And that's not a very satisfactory way of doing business to me. Secondly, Cheri and I, both together and separately, have been in areas of the United States or Europe where fair trade is far more commonplace. ... I have no doubt that it will catch on here in the same way, but it's just a matter of time.

What different facets of technology do you use to grow business?
We use the whole gamut. The first thing I started was the Web site. ... We started getting signatures for our (digital) newsletter before we opened the store, when we were at the farmer's market on Commercial Street. ... Once we opened the store, I started off with MySpace, and then Facebook. MySpace I don't use very much, because it doesn't hit the demographic that we're after. ... Facebook, we use a lot. We use Twitter. ... I've got all these followers; now what? I try to blog every day, and there's a link on the home page on our Web site (www.globalfayre.com). For my products, being able to blog about them and tell the story is really critical. We're not a commodity, so the least successful things we have from an e-commerce point of view are the more normal things like packs of coffee. ... But if you put a Zulu basket online ... there's maybe half a dozen other people in the country who've got them for sale.

How does foot traffic in the store compare to online customers?
In terms of selling online, we've been doing it for three months. For me, all the e-commerce stuff was about getting people to the store. So the newsletter and Facebook have all been in the context of keeping us in the minds of people in the Springfield area. I had actually backed off of having an online store last year, because it felt like it was so competitive, so time-consuming and expensive to get into. When I started doing the blog, I started getting interest from people all over the place. ... That's what encouraged me to start doing the online sales (on our Web site).

How do the online sales allow you to broaden your reach?
I think in the end, we'll sell more online than we do in the store. The signs are good. ... I'm still in the learning process of seeing what sells online. There's a balance from a green point of view. Where I'd like to be is that we'd only have products online that are reasonably rare and difficult to find for people in other regions of the states. ... It's not a good idea to pack up a pack of coffee and ship it to California to somebody who could go into a neighborhood store and buy exactly the same coffee. That's counterproductive for us from a green point of view.

Tell us about your family.
(Cheri and I) have two daughters. Marilian is 14 and Jilian is 3 K. My dad died when I was young, but my mum lives in England, and I've got brothers and family there too. And I've got family in Chicago.[[In-content Ad]]

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