Business & Economy

The Belgium shop where ‘thank you’ goes a long way

By Jorge Ocaña

Brussels, May 10 (EFE) – Circularium store, a small business located in the Brussels district of Anderlecht, is radically changing traditional trade rules. When shopping here, your money or credit card will have no value, but a simple “thank you” in writing will buy you a product.

The concept is straightforward: buy an item with a message of gratitude. In return for a handwritten thank you note that will be added to a small collage on the shop’s wall, buyers have one free purchase a day.

Products “sold” at Circularium vary from books, vinyls, toys to small household appliances and have been donated by local residents who want to make a small contribution to those in need.

“Even the furniture we have is donated,” Leo Fernandez, a student who works as a volunteer at Circularium, told Efe.

When Fernandez first started working at Circularium two months ago, products were being sold at two euros a kilo. But with his partner, they decided to take it to the next level and create a free shop as a gesture of solidarity.

Donors are encouraged to leave a small note to buyers, a perfect example of circular economy, according to Fernandez and his partner.


In an era where local businesses are being replaced with large chain stores, Circularium is an example of how a small business can serve to weave community ties between neighbors, essential to areas like Anderlecht, which is facing an economic crisis.

In 2015, the “per capita” income in Anderlecht was less than €11,000, while in Brussels, just over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away, it exceeded €18,000, according to data from the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis (BISA).

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