A unique store that has been running for over 16 years is creating a bridge between missions work and retail business.
Go Fish Clothing & Jewelry Co., named after the Bible verse where Jesus tells his disciples to be "fishers of men," has developed a system to work with individuals in developing countries to help them get on their feet.
According to its website, the company says it is "a mission disguised as a business."
"In accordance with our mission of impacting people's lives both here and abroad, Go Fish is committed to working with artisans in developing countries and providing them with the opportunity to utilize their talents and resources to create a better life for themselves," explains Go Fish in its website, gofishretail.com. "As a result, over 65% of our merchandise is beautiful, handcrafted goods with many items created exclusively for Go Fish Clothing & Jewelry Co."
The company first began in 1987, with a store in Pensacola, Fla., after its founder, Curt Coleman, had taken a missionary trip to Peru. After bringing back hand made goods from the people in that country, he found that the products sold well in the states. He then realized that he could use that to help artisans from around the world, whose products would sell well in America.
"Our company now purchases goods from countries all around the world," illustrates the founder on the website. "We have established very meaningful relationships with families and individuals that are either under-employed or unemployed, and have been able to help them reach their own goals in life."
Since its start, Go Fish has have opened up stores in other locations in the south, including Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The company both manufactures and imports a variety of items, comprising of clothing, footwear, hand-carved décor items, among other products. Much of the products, such as some T-shirts, also include Christian themed material.
All of the imported materials are also personally bought by Coleman, who travels to and visits countries all around the world.
The founder of Go Fish also allows interested individuals to start up new stores in the United States. He offers information on how to launch a branch on the website, and he explains that there is no cost on unsold merchandise to businesses.
On the web: Go Fish website.