PULBOROUGH'S DEPARTMENT STORE
Sometimes referred to as Pulborough’s department store, The Pulborough Exchange has grown to offer everything from furniture, china, glassware and art to kitchenware, sporting goods, musical instruments, linens, lamps, tools and hobby items. We’re now attracting buyers and consignors from around West Sussex and beyond.
The idea for The Pulborough Exchange came after we had a difficult time clearing a family home. We realised there might be a need for a consignment shop - something in-between a charity shop and auction house.
We’d seen consignment stores in the USA and thought the concept could work well in West Sussex. By helping residents recycle goods they no longer need or want, the shop provides a useful service, and funds, for anyone moving or clearing out a home. At the same time, the shop helps people furnish their homes affordably, with items that are often of far higher quality than can be purchased new.
The Pulborough Exchange first opened in one half of 81 Lower Street in November 2019. The concept proved successful, so the shop has now expanded into the entire ground floor of the 1950s building, in the process regenerating a significant commercial building in the village.
The success of this concept, where consigned goods are sold in both the physical and the online shop, demonstrates that this kind of sustainable enterprise works, and could be a model to help towns and villages in other parts of the country revive their commercial areas.
MEMORIES HAVE A SECOND CHANCE
Goods that are disposable or single-use are not sustainable. At The Pulborough Exchange, we aim to give items a new life with purchasers who will enjoy using them or simply having them in their homes. We realise that attitudes to antiques have changed (BBC article: The fate of antiques and heirlooms in a disposable age) but we like to think of The Pulborough Exchange as a place where memories have a second chance.
Vintage items can often be creatively upcycled and once loved treasures given new life. Buyers are also aware that many of the things we sell in the shop will potentially outlive pieces manufactured today that cost the same or more.
Although we're attempting to make a difference, the UK alone is responsible for 1.6m tonnes of bulky waste every year; approximately 42% of this is furniture. Rearranging the Furniture, a fascinating report from the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), explains some of the challenges of addressing this problem and suggests scenarios for improving current systems and closing the loop on bulky waste.
A CIRCULAR ECONOMY
The Pulborough Exchange holds a bronze Green South Downs Award. Endorsed by the South Downs National Park Authority, the award certifies that The Pulborough Exchange has passed a rigorous assessment on its sustainability practices against People, Place and Planet.
The Pulborough Exchange is:
- Recycling used goods to benefit the community as well as the environment,
- Reducing transportation costs and emissions associated with new goods,
- Cutting the use of natural materials,
- Helping people buy things they might not be able to afford new,
- Employing local people and helping keep money in the community,
- Keeping open and regenerating a village store.
When packing items, we use, wherever possible, recycled boxes, bubble wrap and newspaper supplied by the local community.
If we can’t sell something, we always suggest checking whether a charity shop will take it. We work closely with the Mary How Trust shop in Pulborough.