Local market to offer incentives to GW customers

Pangea, the fair-trade caf? and developing world market on Pennsylvania Avenue, plans to begin giving student discounts Monday after joining the GWorld program in late June.

Two GW interns at the International Monetary Fund, seniors Lucas Keene and Rafi Menachem, helped open The Pangea Artisan Market and Caf? last spring, and the store, which is managed by an alumnus, continues to employ students. The IMF’s Grassroots Business Initiative works with World Craft and Caf?, Inc., to bring the store’s unique offerings from as far as Nepal.

Sunil Shrestha, Pangea’s owner, said he has seen an increase in business since the GWorld system was installed this summer. He added that he is looking to further student patronage by offering a student discount.

The market, located at 2121 Pennsylvania Ave., hosts educational events and workshops and offers video kiosks where customers can view artisans’ lives and products.

“We are trying to generate awareness and give recognition to artisans from around the world,” he said.

Shrestha, a GW alumnus with a Ph.D. in engineering management and an M.D., said the University is a significant part of his life. He said he sees GW students as being a positive customer base for the future.

“I want to invite all GW students, staff and faculty to come and experience what Pangea has to offer,” he said.

The primary aim of the caf?, which also offers free Internet, is to help underprivileged workers. It sells products ordered directly from producers, including street women from Indonesia and HIV/AIDS victims from Swaziland. These producers could not normally sell their goods in the United States and must sign the International Federation of Alternative Trade code of practice, agreeing to ethical and sustainable trade standards. Producers that do not comply are audited until they meet the standards.

Freshman Marie Colasanti, who was shopping at Pangea last week, was pleased that the International Finance Corporation, which is connected with the IMF, developed the store.

“It’s good that the IFC helped with this; you don’t usually hear about this kind of thing,” Colasanti said. “The products here are different – a change from regular shopping.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.