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Local Vendor Sells Goods For Trafficking Survivors

It was an undertaking not for the faint at heart, but one that was taken on nonetheless. For several decades the prominent building located at 141 N. Yosemite served as a one stop shop for farmers, ranchers and cowboys.

As the years passed, the once popular location of Oakdale Feed and Seed however, grew too small for the growing business, which relocated to its current 147 N. Sierra Ave. location last fall. Now, the North Yosemite location is home to the popular downtown home décor business At the Corner, which first opened in fall of 2016.

Business owner Patty Dycus set her sights on relocating the business in late spring, looking forward to the idea of allowing more square footage of shop space, creating more opportunity for more vendors.

It was a decision which benefitted vendors such as Michele Becker of The Village Shop. Becker’s space offers unique products that not just tell a story but also serve a purpose.

The Village Shop vendor space is comprised of products made by survivors and at-risk individuals of human trafficking. A cause which the mother of two first became passionate about close to five years ago after attending a 5k Walk hosted by the Modesto-based organization Without Permission.

Becker shared as she learned more about the organization and its cause, she felt driven to help in whatever capacity she could.

“I just couldn’t resolve that,” she said of the trafficking facts and statistics. “I needed to somehow help.”

What initially began as picking up a few trinkets for herself, morphed to a home party and eventually became a side business working vendor fairs and craft shows with items purchased from varying agencies.

“I’m not sure if it was because my daughter was 16 at the time,” she said. “Realizing this could be her. This could be anybody’s daughter. I just knew I had to do something.”

As she looked to expand beyond the home party scene, Becker found ministries and organizations offering an assortment which she found both appealing and unique for shoppers.

Products are purchased from survivors in Haiti, Cambodia, India and the United States. Most of the products are made of reclaimed items such as bike chains, bike spokes, tire tubes, wood and more. Her booth assortment includes handbags, handmade signs, housewares and knick-knacks.

“I think people generally want to help,” she said. “It’s just what do you do?”

All proceeds earned from the booth sales, go directly back to the survivors through additional purchases of products.

“I would like to eventually have enough profit to give donations to Without Permission,” Becker said. “This is just somewhat of an easier opportunity for people to feel like they’re making a difference.”