On Saturday, Dec 8th a fire started near the water heater at AlterNatives (3320 West Cary St) which caused nearly $500,000 worth of damage to the store.
Fortunately, no one was hurt, but this fire destroyed more than just their inventory.
AlterNatives is a retail outlet for fairly-traded crafts that directly supports over 100 Guatemalan artisans and their families, many of whom have no other source of income. It is also part of the broader Highland Support Project, which does a variety of humanitarian work in the Guatemalan highlands (including empowering women to start their own craft businesses).
The busy Christmas shopping season accounts for the lion's share of their yearly sales, so this fire could not have come at a worse time. Efforts are currently underway to move to a temporary store front across the street, but for now store employees are set up on the sidewalk in front of the store selling jewelry and other items that were stored offsite & escaped the blaze.
How you can help:
Donations to help rebuild the store can be sent to:
P.O. Box 7185
Richmond, Va. 23221
Please make checks out to "AlterNatives" and put "re-building" in the memo line.
Fellow Etsy sellers: I am donating 10% of my December (and probably January) Etsy sales to the rebuilding fund--if anybody would like to join me, I would love to put together a post featuring everyone's shops. Email me at BeeMail@BeesKneesStudio.com
Also, there are many smoke-tarnished silver items from inside the store that they would like to try and salvage. Anyone with silver-cleaning expertise who would like to help with that or offer suggestions is welcome to contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org