Still with Nothing to Sell, Popular ‘Inutilious Retailer’ Seeks Donations to Stay Afloat

Posted on: June 21st, 2016 at 5:19 am by
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Not surprisingly, a store with nothing for sale is tough on the bottom line. Nevertheless, the Inutlious Retailer soldiers on, forever beckoning customers to the Lower East Side for (bartered) free art. Now its owner, Adrian Wilson, seeks monetary assistance to stay afloat for at least the next six months.

Wilson signed a lease at 151 Ludlow Street last summer, and founded the Inutilious Retailer. It’s a utopian retail vision in which people can take any art from the store, but must create a replacement piece to swap using the stamps and other supplies in the “secret” back room. No money changes hands. Only problem is that it doesn’t really pay the rent. And, to that end, Wilson’s initial plan was only to operate the shop from last September until this past January. Apparently the landlord even lowered the rent to keep the business onsite. “That’s the kind of unheard of generosity The Inutilious Retailer has generated,” Wilson says.

But lack of revenue is hurting. “Unfortunately, I have run out of funds to keep it going, so I am asking for your help to keep the only store in the world that has a permanent “100% OFF” sale from closing down,” Wilson further claims in his nascent Kickstarter pitch, which went live a few days ago. He hopes to collect $10,000 in the next month so that it can live for another six. (The fundraiser is already at 20% of the stated goal.)

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Hanksy’s Dump Trump pop-up shop

There are other ideas in the pipeline, though, to help the operation continue. For instance, providing the space to artists in exchange for a “donation.” Hanksy’s “Dump Trump” pop-up shop was one example of that in action. Basically, Wilson wants to keep the non-commercial spirit of the enterprise alive.

“The store has become somewhat of a local community drop in center and I am trying to keep it open, without having to compromise the gifting, non commercial spirit because that is its main appeal.”

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