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Common Goods Treasures Go Global

Contributions by Claire Erholtz, Common Goods Summer Retail Staff; and Jim Nagy, Common Goods Volunteer


Last summer, several items with origins in the Brainerd Lakes Area made their way across the Atlantic. A group from Timberwood Church took a mission trip to Skoczow, Poland. Claire Erholtz, a summer staff at Common Goods, and Jim Nagy, a Common Goods volunteer, were both part of the team that went to teach English at a summer camp for Polish youth.

One part of the team’s prep work was to plan several different Theme Nights–including costumes and games to encourage the Polish youth to use their English skills outside of a classroom setting. The themes ranged from Cowboy to Hawaiian, and they required some creativity and quite a few supplies.

Claire, however, knew the perfect place to shop–and at Common Goods, she found plenty of gear for the whole team, including cowboy hats and even grass skirts–which helped their entire team really get into the spirit of the themes. Claire was glad the team didn’t have to “break the bank” to get outfitted for the trip.

Cowboy Theme Night in Poland

Jim also headed to Common Goods in search of costumes and props for the Theme Nights but found something extra while shopping: a Duluth Trading Co. duffel bag! Jim was thrilled to find such a sturdy bag for under $20. He and his wife Carol also found several like-new Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirts for about the same prices as the duffel–quite a steal, in Jim’s mind.

Now fully outfitted, Jim and Claire–and the rest of the team–finished preparations for the trip, packing up their new treasures for the trip to eastern Europe. After coming home, Jim and Claire reported to the staff at Common Goods that the Theme Nights were regarded as a success by all; and moreover, that the entire mission trip was a success, touching the hearts and lives of many Polish youth. Bridges of Hope is pleased to have a small role in adding to the fun and creativity of their trip–and to hear about the sometimes unusual ways that the merchandise of Common Goods is going out into the world for the common good.


Learn more about how shopping at Common Goods helps local families.

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