Cultures Boutique was established in 1993 as a fundraising program of the International Program. It has since become one of the most popular stores in downtown Fredericton. Cultures is a Fair Trade gift boutique. That means that it seeks to make a difference in the lives of the artisans it buys from by ensuring that they are paid fairly within the terms of their local economies and that labor conditions are safe and non-exploitative, adhering to International Labor Organization guidelines. The purchases by Cultures are also guided by the principle that the raw materials used to make the items sold are harvested in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
The store has become a visible representation of YMCA values through its efforts at building better futures in Fredericton and around the world. It has helped community members understand how consumer choices can make a real and positive difference in people’s lives. Cultures was also the driving force behind the creation of the YMCA of Fredericton’s “No Sweat” purchasing guidelines.