“When one of your best customers comes back five times during a holiday season for more of the same items for gifts, you know you have a winning product,” laughs Elizabeth Paganelli, owner of Fair Trade Décor. This is especially true if that client is a 99-year-old retired Navy Admiral who lives in Del Mar and comes in to shop with his caregiver.
Even on a sad day, Paganelli says that talking about Fair Trade Décor, which has a wide array of colorful and unique items made in accordance with fair trade principles from around the world, brings her joy. When the pandemic began in March, she closed the first time for the required state mandate and then reopened when allowed; but closed again for the summer, when she says, “with the crowds of tourists, the risks were not good for me.” She reopened in September and was pleasantly surprised that her Christmas season was busier than last year.
“I am so appreciative of all the local support we received. I love to see familiar faces,” she comments. She recently temporarily closed again, but created a fun window display with a giant heart showcasing colorful items. She hasn’t decided when she will reopen the shop, but would like to see the COVID numbers going in the right direction first.
Through it all, she and her three employees have been busy behind the scenes working on social media, doing inventory, and merchandising. Paganelli highlights that a key component has been updating the website, which was previously not as big a component, but has helped during the pandemic and will assist if this happens again. They are getting ready to shop for new products at the New York Gift Show, albeit virtually this year, which will be a new experience. “I love finding new products and knowing that we are helping support people globally,” she says.
She has had to revise her ordering and although this past year hasn’t been easy, she is committed to keeping the store open. She and her husband live in Coronado and love everything the town has to offer.
For Christmas, she had a vision to design a display window reminiscent of an old curiosity shop, with a message of love and caring. The concept was created by her husband and nephew, who brought the eye-catching wooden house, filled with beautiful baubles from Bethlehem to life. Incidentally, those Bethlehem baubles were the favored gift of her 99-year-old frequent shopper, the first customer at her previous Del Mar location.
She says she doesn’t mind being located off the main drag in the 800 block of Orange Avenue, because she gets business from customers going to other nearby shops. “We actually get more customers than it may appear,” she reveals.
For now, shoppers can check out Fair Trade Décor on Facebook and Instagram, call them at 619-675-0072, or visit their website at www.fairtradedecor.com. The store is located at 828 Orange Avenue and they can ship items, and offer free delivery in Coronado.
Fair Trade Décor • 828 Orange Avenue, Coronado 92118