General Information and Background
As old as Auroville, the Freestore is as the name suggests, a store where things are free. A descendant of early Auroville's barter and exchange system, the Freestore now offers a range of new and pre-loved clothes, crockery, books and music to any Aurovilian who needs, yes, for free. Customers choose what they want, leave their name and a list of items taken, say thanks, and walk out the door. The place is a blessing for many of the Aurovilians who live, as honorary voluntary workers, on a very basic maintenance and can 'go shop' this way.
Members and Affiliations
The Free Store is affiliated with Nandini tailoring and distribution, though Free Store has no members, being open to all Newcomers and Aurovilians.
Aims and Objectives
The selection of summer clothes tends to offer more to women and children than men, but this imbalance evens out in the cold weather clothes section. There, any number of good, woollen jumpers and cardigans offer the traveller to colder climes a smorgasbord of warm clothes. Regular donations from clothing manufacturers like 'Hidesign' see the Freestore well-stocked with a range of leather jackets, ideal for the Himalayas or Europe, also for free. In this capacity the organisation acts as a library of clothes - lending out warm clothes for low temperature travel, or specialist needs. On occasion, Freestore garments have provided Auroville costume designers with a repository of different styles, available for loan and returned after the performance. Efforts are always made to arrange for a pleasant ambience and freshly laundered materials to be available. Aside from the pre-loved, the Freestore on occasion offers new clothes from companies like 'Auromode', 'Upasana' and 'Hidesign' as well as monthly donations by other Auroville units. Pressed flower handmade paper envelopes, writing paper and postcards add to the Freestore's quality of service. The Freestore doesn't stop at giving away things, it also offers a free tailoring service (now located in Kottakarai) , which focuses on repairs but occasionally makes new garments.