Svalka Thrift Shop: Reduce, Reuse, Have a Concert?

15 October, 2016

Svalka Thrift Shop: Reduce, Reuse, Have a Concert?

I was invited to a local thrift shop called Svalka Thrift shop concert. When invited to attend a concert at a local store, I had no idea what I was walking into. My vision was of a small, dusty book house and one person with an acoustic guitar. Was I wrong! The store, Свалка, Svalka, is housed in a massive section of an old factory. It is a little dusty, but definitely not a quaint old bookshop.  Svalka was celebrating its birthday, making use of the enormous space by filling it with activities.

During the day there were performers for children, face painting and games. In the evening, there was a full concert with multiple acts in their performance space, complete with lights, a stage and a functional bar! In addition, there were free henna tattoos, snacks, and actual tattoos at a reduced price. Local tattoo artists were donating their services for around 1,000 roubles (that’s only $15!!) to give small tattoos to patroons. The set up was very official and sanitary, only downside being the wait. Throughout the day, of course, patrons were welcome to shop for clothing, books, shoes, and household items in the thrift store. I’ve decided to do all of my shopping from here on out with live music and a cocktail. It really changes the experience!

Behind the party lies a wonderful story. Svalka shares a name with a large landfill thirteen miles outside of Moscow city center. This thrift shop, which has locations in other Russian cities, was created with the goal of landfill diversion. Svalka’s premise is to simplify the waste reduction process for Russian citizens. Families pay a small fee and Svalka workers pick up their unwanted items directly from the home! The fee goes partially to Svalka, partially to local charities. Items are then sorted into sell-able goods, items that need repair, and landfill.  Customers can then purchase items at a very reduced rate at Svalka’s awesome facility near Metro Preobrazhenskaya Ploschad. The market has reduced hours, Wednesday and Saturday, due to staff capacity. There is also an online shop to make eco-friendly shopping even easier!


Sam Cramer is currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Moscow


Posted by Sam Cramer

Sam Cramer is currently studying Russian language at Liden & Denz Moscow. At university, Sam studied anthropology with a concentration in Central and Eastern European studies. She has been to Moscow once before, in 2012, and is very excited to be back! Sam is an avid tea drinker, dog lover and is known for having the loudest laugh in the room.

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