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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

How to start your own free store

The Hawai’i Free Store is a project of Eating in Public, a localized collective committed to establishing community infrastructure unreliant on State and capitalist systems. In this helpful guide, they speak on the benefits of creating autonomous systems of exchange and provide practical tips you can use to bring your very own free store to life.

Creating a free store is often a fun (and relatively simple) journey, but for the uninitiated, the process may seem a bit intimidating. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help make the process easier for you and your community. Keep in mind that the following recommendations are just that. Free stores are rhizomatic, ever-expanding autonomous zones by nature, so best practices for your neck of the woods might differ slightly from ours. And that’s ok!

Step 1: Find a location

The location is an important decision. In some ways it determines whether it will succeed, what will be exchanged, who and how many people will use it.

Factors to consider are traffic flow, weather condition, population, and convenience — particularly yours. Chose a place where you frequent at least every few days in your regular routine. If not your free store may become a burden.

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