New Quirky Store Set To Help Struggling Households in Swansea

17th May 2022

A unique shop has opened in Swansea’s Quadrant Shopping Centre, which is set to revolutionise shopping habits, at a time when it’s needed most.

The Swansea Library of Things is packed with large, high-value household items which shoppers can borrow at a very small cost. This new-concept store is set to significantly help households as the cost of living continues to soar.

Shoppers can expect everything from carpet cleaners, power washers and large gardening power tools to buggies, tents and camping equipment.

The shop is an idea of Swansea’s first B-Corp and Creative Regeneration Agency, Urban Foundry; best known for Uplands, Mumbles and Marina Market. As a business that’s passionate about sustainability and creating a circular economy, this shop marks an important chapter within the organisation.

It’s being run with support from Swansea Council and a range of other organisations, and is receiving funding through the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme.

Founder of Urban Foundry, Ben Reynolds, said: “This is a truly different shopping experience. With the cost of living increasing so significantly, we wanted to be able to give something back to the community, in a practical way which will help with key household tasks.

“When there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, maintaining the home or garden is often overlooked, because the upfront cost of purchasing maintenance tools is so high. This shop gives people the chance to borrow those tools and items for as little as £3 a week. It’s important that these high-value items are accessible to all, now more than ever.

The Head Librarian, Nathan Brenton, said: “It’s fantastic seeing how many customers are using the shop. The carpet cleaner has been the most popular item and we even had a family loan a buggy when a day’s shopping was too tiring for their toddler.

“I feel like we’re offering a really important service and we’re making expensive, practical products accessible. Our customers range from students, right through to pensioners. There is a clear market for these items and I’m proud to be playing my part in helping people budget during these challenging times.”

Commenting on the surge in customers to the store is Lindy Emms, Operations Manager at The Quadrant: “The Library of Things has been a truly brilliant addition to the centre and our offer. Shoppers are looking for new experiences and new ways of saving when the cost of living has increased so significantly. This shop meets those needs perfectly. The other great thing is that it’s reducing the amount of waste or need for storage in households. It’s really tapping into the need to be greener and to make more sustainable choices. It’s almost like borrowing from your neighbour.”

The Swansea Library of Things is located at the New Look entrance to The Quadrant. It is one of several popups across Swansea that Urban Foundry has established through the Pop-Up Wales initiative, with the support of key partners The Quadrant Shopping Centre, Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns and Swansea Council. The initiative is aimed at bringing new and different ideas into city-centre retail units following the pandemic.

The Swansea Library of Things is open until June 30 and the full list of available products can be viewed here: