Shoppers at the Added Gift, a new store in Norwalk, might find that they are immune to buyer's remorse.
They can at least tell themselves the money they spent went to a good cause good causes abound in the Added Gift.
The gift shop, at 124 Cleveland Road, is a new fundraising effort from Successful Relationships, a nonprofit organization offering Christian family counseling. Diana Salisbury, a spokeswoman for the organization, said the gift shop is an alternative strategy to just going around with your hand out all the time. And it's a recognition of the fact that the "donor dollar is virtually non-existent in this day and age."
The products in the store come from three sources: 10,000 Villages, Captain's Quarters and local artists.
The company 10,000 Villages' products come from Third-World countries where it pays a living wage to make them. Items include bowls made from water buffalo horn or carved wooden boxes.
Captain's Quarters is a Christian bookstore in Sandusky, which will open a satellite store in the Added Gift.
Finally, the Added Gift is renting floor space to local artists to sell their creations everything from jewelry to home decorating banners. The store charges $3 per square foot and takes 6 percent of each sale to pay for bags, wrapping paper and credit card fees.
The idea behind renting out the space dovetails with Successful Relationships' mission. The Rev. Brad Mason, founder of Successful Relationships, said it was an opportunity to help local artisans develop their income. One artist is a single mother, for instance, Salisbury added.
Successful Relationships is intended to help strengthen people's families, and it stresses taking responsibility for your life and your family to do that.
For example, Successful Relationships classes, such as "The Seven Secrets of Effective Fathering," and "Practical Applications of Internal Relationship Skills," are not free to the public. No one is turned away if they cannot afford it, but often they work out a deal. A person can pay for a class by promising to volunteer with any local ministry.
"There's a value in earning what you're doing," Mason said. Taking responsibility for the outcome of your life and giving back while receiving are important principles for having successful relationships with others and for having strong self-esteem, Mason explained.
Mason is ordained through the Christian Missionary Alliance and was pastor at Norwalk's Alliance Church until 1991. He also holds a degree in pastoral counseling and he worked at the Cleveland Psychiatric Institute.
Mason and Salisbury estimate that as many as 150 people took advantage of their services in 2006. Services also include youth-oriented offerings, including some to augment home schooling.