The principle of fair trade in the Weltladen of Brixen is at work since 1980, the opening year of the shop. A couple of years before some South-Tyrolean development aid worker returned from the so-called third world. Their experiences in developing countries urged them to find some alternative forms of aid. The, until then, predominant donator mentality had to be replaced by a more dignifying approach of help to self-help.
Ten people - Paul Brunner, Paul Ploner, Elisabeth Stockner, Christine Baumgartner, Rudi Kiebacher, Josef Unterholzner, Reinhold Pitschl, Agnes Rainer, Josef Eder and Elisabeth Lantschner - were the ones who the implemented the concept of a fair trade shop into practice. After two years of preparation, the Weltladen was opened in Brixen in 1980 on 1 August. It was the first Third World Shop in Italy. Bishop Gargitter donated the right location in the Bruno alley free of charge. Meanwhile, more than 400 stores throughout Italy have followed the example of Bressanone.
The Weltladen was able to expand steadily. This only thanks to the more than three decades lasting cooperation and activity of many volunteers of the association and the customers. The product range grew constantly. Nevertheless, big profits fill the till of the Weltladen. The profit margin on the products is minimal. Because the store has to pay no rent, and due to the fact that the staff provides its time for free, the oldest Weltladen Italy writes a modest profit.
The Weltladen in Brixen certainly cannot complain about lack of customers. This, although the store in the Brunogasse is a little hidden. In recent years, sales turnover in Brixen tripled. People come into the Weltladen because they know that through their shopping they directly support people in developing countries. Many of the buyers by now have become regular customers.
Currently, the association tries to bring the products in conventional village shops and supermarkets. Also some Cafés in Brixen are preparing their cappuccino or macchiato with coffee powder from fair trade.
Until 2006, the association “Third -World -Shop Brixen conducted the Weltladen in Brixen. In December 2006, the members of the association founded a cooperative and since January 2007, the Weltladen is run by a non-profit cooperative called “Sozialgenossenschaft Weltladen Brixen”. The Board meets regularly to discuss the activities, to take strategic decisions, to fix promotions and organize staff meetings, to plan educational programs and awareness rising campaigns,…
Until August 2007, for more than a quarter of century, only volunteers supervised the Weltladen in Brixen. Altogether, there were more than 100 men and women who have made offered their time to the work in the Weltladen and many of them are still working with a lot of zeal and commitment. Without the cooperation of many volunteers, the Weltladen could and cannot exist, as the profit margin is kept very low in order to guarantee producers a fair wage. Due to the continuous increase of the sales volume, it was decided to hire one part-time worker each morning and afternoon. Hence, two part-time employees now support the 30 volunteers in various task in the store.
The aim of the Weltladen is to undertake something for the change the difficult situation of the people in the South and improve it. Fair trade is regarded as a new way of achieving this task: While cash donations and alms of the rich industrialized countries often lead people in the "underdeveloped" countries in a one-sided dependence, through this type of helping to self-help they are regarded as equal partners. For their product they receive an adequate pay and with it self-confidence, hope an independence.
In February 2011, the relocation of the Weltladen took place from the Brunogasse 10 to the Stadelgasse 5/ C in a rented place of the housing institute of South Tyrol. The relocation was necessary because the historic building had to give way to the construction of the new city library in the Brunogasse. In partnership with our suppliers ctm-Altromercato - the main supplier of fair trade products in Italy - a generous, modern retail space was set up in order to present the broad and ever-renewing product range of fair trade foods, handicrafts and fair clothing in a costumer friendly and appealing manner. Since then, the Weltladen enjoys the many new customers, both locals and tourists.