Pop-Up Shop Helps San Francisco’s Homeless
Online startup CRACK + CIDER has set up a store that is selling cold-weather essentials that can be purchased for others
As the days get colder and darker, we throw on our heavier, thicker winter getup. However, not all of us are fortunate enough to have a survival kit for these dropping temperatures. Enter online retail startup CRACK + CIDER who set pop-up stores in London and San Francisco that sell cold-weather essentials for the homeless.
All items can be purchased for the homeless and delivered to shelters where they are then distributed to those living on the streets
After its successful launch last year in London, a second store opened in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district on November 10, a neighborhood renowned for being the epicenter of San Francisco’s homelessness crisis.
Where did the name originate? After speaking to a homeless man in London who said, “People don’t give me money because they think I’ll just spend it on crack and cider,” founders Scarlett Montanaro and Charlotte Crame wanted to provide an easy alternative to helping the homeless—one that is guaranteed to have an impact.
While the operation is still growing, six out of 10 visits result in a purchase with an average spend of $40. Montanaro and Cramer believe this success is due to donors feeling more connected to the people they are trying to help when they know exactly where their money is going.
Being in regular contact with local shelters in both London and San Francisco means the founders can ensure that they have a parcel for each and every individual in a shelter before making a delivery. In November and December 2015, CRACK + CIDER distributed approximately 6,000 items in total, mostly sourced from wholesalers. Aiming to uphold a level of transparency when it comes to pricing, they explain on their website that each item is marked up 50 to 100 percent of the wholesale value. with all profits going towards awareness campaigns, store rent and item purchases.
CRACK + CIDER’S arrival in San Francisco is indicative of the frustration many residents feel with the city’s insurmountable homeless situation. As technology continually improves, various nonprofits are revolutionizing how to help populations in need that empower both the giver and receiver.
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