A new second-hand market is opening in downtown Calgary with no price tag.
Good neighbor community market, located at 149 Fifth Avenue SE, is a short walk from the Bow Skyscraper and Chinatown.
It will donate clothing, books, houseplants, household items and non-perishable food items. If customers wish, they can make a voluntary donation to help cover market expenses.
Alice Lam, who co-founded the market, said a team of around 45 volunteers, from electricians to painters, had worked hard to prepare the market for opening day on July 24.
âStarting a store isn’t easy, but it’s ‘a lot of hands doing light work.’ We have been really fortunate to have a network of people who truly believe in the mission of what we do here, âshe said.
“It’s been really exciting and inspiringâ¦ especially after a very difficult year, feeling isolated and withdrawn from the community.”
Lam said the market grew out of a previous initiative, a free community refrigerator installed in Crescent Heights.
People who donated food were also interested in donating clothes and other items. An owner offered the space on Fifth Avenue for free, on condition that Lam’s team of volunteers revitalize it at his own expense.
âThis store, just like the refrigerator, is about helping each other out. It’s about providing a barrier-free experience. So we don’t check people’s income when they come to the store. We really rely on the community to take take care of each other, âshe said.
The market is just Lam’s latest community initiative. She is also the organizer of a campaign to deliver bouquets of flowers to isolated seniors and the founder of Volly, an app that connects volunteers with non-profit organizations.
She said she hopes the market can become a community center and eventually offer services like financial literacy classes for community members or artist studios.
âI really love this neighborhood because we’re located so close to so much subsidized housing, Chinatown and the East Village. There is actually a pretty high population of seniors, of low income people who live in. the neighborhood – and there really isn’t a community gathering space for them, âshe said.
Here is a little progress video! Many hours of volunteer work devoted to this project and so many generous donations. pic.twitter.com/HAg0pSolrn
Gabriella Wong Ken, co-founder of The Hatch market and self-help organization, said it was important for the team to make the market welcoming and inclusive.
The entrance and the walls are decorated by local artists.
âI think everyone deserves to have access to the everyday items they need in a dignified way,â she said. “For usâ¦ it’s just about helping others, which I think is just wonderful.”
Donations are welcome at the market between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday. Donations can also be dropped off at the Tigerstedt Market or the Freak.