Despite covering an area of only 20 square meters, the shop offers a wide range of outfits manufactured by a variety of Vietnamese and international brands.
Newcomers who do not pay attention to the sign of the store are often surprised after being told to take their favorite pieces of clothing without having to pay.
“Regardless of your family circumstances, everything here at the store is yours if you want it,” Van said to her customers with a friendly smile.
The facility is always crowded with ‘buyers,’ who only take enough products to meet their personal demand, from a shirt to a pair of shoes.
Many have been concerned that the shop would eventually fall victim to greedy looters.
However, after four months of operation satisfying thousands of people, the store is always filled with clothes and footwear.
Nen Soc Tha, 38, who sells boiled bananas and cassavas on the street for a living, said that her main focus is earning enough money to support her family, thus dressing well has always been a luxury.
However, in the past three months, Tha, her husband, and their children have had decent clothes like any other family thanks to Van’s store.
The shop also provided new outfits for all of Tha’s neighbors.
“We do not have to pay for anything. We are not beggars either. We will give something back to the shop when our lives become better in the future,” the woman elaborated.
Give and take
The idea of the shop first started when Van opened a venue at Nui Cam Park in Tinh Bien District, An Giang.
With the name “Give and Take,” the place received old clothes and other products from donors and offered them to the poor.
When Men Pholly, secretary of the Party Committee in Tri Ton, noticed Van’s activity on social media, he asked the woman to establish a similar venue in his town.
The “Zero Dong Store” was set up at that point and is now supported by many volunteers who help classify and wash the clothes, and serve ‘customers.’
According to Van, the shop is actually a place where she receives clothes from benefactors and gives them to those in need.
“We named it a ‘store’ so that people coming here perceive themselves as customers,” she said.
A large number of donors, most of whom did not reveal their names, now keep the store running, Van added.