Christine Prois is fulfilling a lifelong dream: having her own business. “I’ve wanted my own business since I was four years old,” Prois said. Growing up, she spent many hours at her family’s flower shop in New Jersey, and worked as a floral designer for 40 years. In past years, she frequently traveled and moved around the country since her husband, Rodger, is an ELCA minister. After being exposed to organizations who offered hunger and disaster relief, she decided to pursue opening a fair trade store, beginning her efforts in August. Many items for the store were purchased through SERRV, a fair trade organization for artisans worldwide. Assembly lines and child labor is not permitted. Lives are bettered through artwork and crafts, Prois said. SERRV products come from numerous countries, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Swaziland and Vietnam. Starting in January, Earthings will highlight a country every month. “Just name a country, and we’ll find something available for purchase,” Prois said. She continued, “Give, give, give: the whole point is not about me but giving back. I feel so right about it, and I hope it helps the community to learn and also help other artisans live.” Two percent of Earthing’s sales will be donated to charities. Charities will change from month-to-month, and will include local, international and disaster relief organizations. While Earthings is starting to fill up with merchandise, curious passerbys will often stop by, inquiring about what type of store is coming. “People are excited about the store, to see something new and different,” Prois explained. Merchandise ranges from handmade to eclectic: purses, scarves, jewelry, home decor, children’s items, musical instruments, baskets, ironware from Haiti, Peruvian pottery and fair trade chocolates, coffees and teas. She has also collected artist-signed Thai and Mexican artwork from antique and thrift stores,priced from $1 to $100 plus. Prois said she is on the lookout for items made by local artisans, and will acquire them outright, rather than on consignment. While area churches often hold fair trade fairs, she wanted to remind them that her store is not in competition with them. Earthings will be maintaining an online presence, as well as brick-and-mortar store, located adjacent to B&K Mercantile. “Bruce (Kurtz) was generous, and let me take the front half of the store,” Prois said. B&K’s women’s store shares the back space of the Earthings location on Lake Avenue, divided by a curtain. “I’m accustomed to different things through growing up in New Jersey and New York, and I’m hoping Storm Lake will take to it too,” Prois said. Earthings will be open for business on Nov. 1, at 9:00 a.m., and is located next to B&K Mercantile on Lake Avenue. Free samples of fair trade chocolates and coffee will be available. Local artisans interested in having their items sold through Earthings can reach Prois at 612-532-7392. The store’s web site is under construction, so check it for updates: earthingsstore.com.