Here is the link to the wonderful article on Zee Bee Market on the #TheSTL page https://thestl.com/work/worldwide-pride/
It’s a quiet morning, well before the start of the business day, and Julio Zegarra-Ballon is reflecting on the moments that led him to open two St. Louis stores that specialize in unique, hand-crafted fair trade products. Almost tearfully, he looks around Zee Bee Market, his eyes taking in the colorful dresses that were crafted in India and the measuring spoons sporting quirky black cats that were made in Vietnam.
But when Zegarra-Ballon looks at the items in his shop, he doesn’t simply see things to sell — he sees opportunity for all.
Zee Bee Market – the original on South Grand and a newer shop in Maplewood — because his customers keep returning to buy messenger bags constructed from discarded cement sacks, coat hooks fashioned from bike chains and colorful, polished soapstone hearts.
When merchants buy fair trade items to sell, he learned, they directly support producers from around the world with a living wage, unlike in a conventional supply chain model where factories produce products without paying artisans and workers fair prices. Fair wages have a huge impact in countries like Peru, Haiti and Cambodia, covering the cost of shelter, education, clothing and medicine.
“We source products from about 33 different countries,” Zegarra-Ballon notes. “There’s scarcity today in St. Louis of truly genuine fair trade stores. When customers come in and they love what they see, I say, ‘Oh, by the way, the person behind the product is really benefiting from this transaction. We are stopping modern slavery.’ That is what I believe people want and crave.”
South Grand Store
3211 South Grand Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63118
314-932-1000 Get directions
7270 Manchester Rd.Maplewood, MO 63143
314-370-4111 Get directions
Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00AM – 8:00PM
Sunday, 11:00AM – 5:00PM
Blogged by your favorite St Louis REALTOR®:
Tina Siebert Circa Properties
314-603-8555 / 314-352-5200