From Fig Garden Village to Old Town Clovis, three new stores opened in recent weeks.
They are as different as can be, selling everything from fair-trade goods to midcentury modern furniture and the handmade pillows to decorate it. Here’s a look at what’s new in town.
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Tagua, Fig Garden Village – You may have seen this seller of colorful fair-trade goods at farmers markets or church craft sales. Now it has a store in Fig Garden Village in northwest Fresno. The temporary store is between Bath & Body Works and La Boulangerie French Bakery & Cafe through the end of January.
Tagua is perhaps best known for its $45 market baskets. But the store also carries handmade jewelry, scarves, bright pink and purple fingerless gloves and nativity scenes made from olive wood in Bethlehem.
A large children’s section has hand-knitted toys and hats in the shape of frogs and other animals.
Many of the gifts for sale are made from repurposed materials, like heart-shaped boxes made from paper, or bags made from saris once worn by women.
The name of the store, Tagua, (pronounced TOG-wah) comes from the tagua nut. It’s collected from the rain forest floor and carved into figurines that look and feel like ceramics or ivory.
Everything in the store is fair trade, which means the makers are paid fairly for their work and don’t work in sweatshop conditions, said Kathy Heinrichs Wiest, one of the store’s managers.
The makers are usually disadvantaged people from other countries. Often women, they sometimes don’t have other sources of income in their villages or are vulnerable to sex trafficking.
“Fair trade is a business model that has at its heart the benefit of the maker,” Wiest said.
The volunteers running Tagua hope the store will have a permanent storefront someday soon.
Retromode 3134 N. Palm Ave., Fresno – The vintage furniture and accessories shop has opened at Palm and Shields avenues. It’s in the building that had been empty since Steven’s Bicycles left for a new location.
The store is packed with furniture in the popular midcentury modern style, including dining sets.
There are also couches, wall mirrors and tabletop decor. Prices range from a $55 vintage pitcher to $2,500 for a Lucien Rollin dining set. An Eames chair is selling for $325.
Owner InSun Janigian has collected the furniture from estate sales, auctions and other sources.
Though it’s right on Palm Avenue, the store has a parking lot in back, accessible by either Simpson Avenue or from Shields Avenue just east of the barbershop.
The Perfect Pillow by Julie Adams, 635 Fifth St., Clovis – This new tiny shop in Old Town Clovis is all about throw pillows.
Customers can buy pillows off the shelves or design pillows of their own.
They pick the size, fabric and color of piping that lines the pillows. A local seamstress makes them in a week and a half. Prices range from $35 to $65.
Owner Julie Adams doesn’t have a background in design, but has been decorating friends’ homes for years. She wanted to create a business that’s similar to Etsy.com, where customers can get things custom-made, but also be able to touch the fabric before buying.
“I want my customers to feel like they’re the designer,” she said.