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Women in Ascension village making the bags sold in Wynsum with the donated fabric. Submitted Photo

Nisswa Square welcomes Wynsum, a unique shop with a cause

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There are many unique shopping opportunities in Nisswa, and at Wynsum, visitors will find a shop with a cause. Wynsum matches its definition of being "attractive or appealing in appearance or character."

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Wynsum opened in Nisswa Square on April 1 and is family owned and operated by Tammy Waters, Alese Waters, Meagan Meyer and Anje Smith. Tammy is the mother of Alese and Meagan, and Anje is a cousin.

The store offers women's apparel, home goods and jewelry. Most of the goods are made locally by Minnesota crafters with several from other neighboring states. Examples include candles made from recycled wine bottles, homemade afghans and more.

There is meaning behind the apparel sold at Wynsum. Suppliers donate some proceeds to local works and charities. Examples include Panacea, a Minneapolis clothing apparel store that donates part of the proceeds to local charities and cancer benefits.

Wynsum also sells the OG Sack, a bag handmade in Colorado. This company is partnered with Plantabillion.org in an effort to plant one billion trees in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, one of the world's most endangered tropical forests. For every bag sold at Wynsum, one tree is planted. The plan is to restore one billion trees by 2015.

But, supporting local crafters and selling clothing with a cause is not Wynsum's main mission.

Three times a year, the Waters family takes trips to the Dominican Republic, supporting the To Empower a Life (TEAL) foundation. Their work centers on the Ascension Village Mission, where the Waters have helped to employ and teach about 50 women in Ascension to sew.

With each trip the Waters family brings donated fabric (and even sewing machines) to the village, which the women use to make bags. From there, Wynsum buys the bags back from the women and sells them at the store as reusable shopping bags; 100 percent of the proceeds go to the village for education and goods.

"It had first began with a mission trip my family and I took my junior year of high school," said Alese Waters. "We weren't so sure about it at the time, but after going, we knew we needed to go back."

That first mission trip helped spark the idea for Wynsum.

"Wynsum offers a good platform for what we want to do. We also support Special Olympics and Brains Together for a Cure. We are more than just a retail store," said Smith.

Wynsum also refers shoppers to other businesses in Nisswa.

"We are always recommending other stores in Nisswa; we strive to be different so people will want to stop in every store and have plenty of variety," Smith said.

Wynsum is both children and animal friendly, even having shop dogs happily watching over the store.

Anyone interested in donating fabric and/or sewing machines can drop them off at Wynsum. Local artists and crafters are invited to talk with Wynsum owners about selling their works at the store. Call 218-961-0111 or swing by the store.

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