Why does SOMARO sell the products?

You might ask yourself: why does SOMARO not give its products away for free as its clients are people with low financial resources? There are several reasons why the sale of products leads to several major advantages for our clients!

First of all, we as an association could not exist without some financial return. Without such income we could not cover our running costs such as work force, energy, etc. Alternative financial models (e.g. funding by state authorities or private philanthropy) would make us dependent on these players and would implicate the risk that they would stop funding our activities.

Moreover, there are some practical and psychological reasons to sell the products instead of donating them to our clients: We treat our clients as a valued customers which gives them back some dignity – dignity needed to find the strength for the way back to a normal life: Shopping just like anyone else! And by purchasing the products, our clients only buy what they really need and consume! It is part of our mission to reduce the waste of consumable goods and that includes ensuring that our clients consume the purchased products and do not waste them themselves!

Nevertheless, it is very important to mention that SOMARO is not aiming at generating profits! Any profits that arise are reinvested 100% into the SOMARO project (e.g. to open another store) and not a single euro is used for dividends or any other remuneration to investors or third parties!

What can I buy from SOMARO?

In our shops you can buy everyday household essentials, food and non-comestible products. As we depend on donations, we do not always have the same goods in stock and we cannot guarantee that you will always find everything you need at SOMARO. Find out more by clicking here.

Who can shop?

To prevent hoarding or selling-on of goods, we have set up certain shopping restrictions. Thus, our clients can shop a maximum of three times a week in our stores and must keep the value of their purchases below a certain level/and are only permitted to spend up to a certain amount each visit. Because of the dramatically low prices in our stores, clients can usually fill up an entire shopping basket during each visit.

The monthly income per person should not exceed 500 lei. Special hardships such as unemployment, disease, and other disabilities are also taken into consideration. Bucharest Sector 1 Office for Social Care and Child Protection and Caritas Satu Mare select the families eligible to shop at SOMARO. The families are obliged to provide proof of their situation and only then are they able to receive a customer’s entry pass; their status is then closely monitored.

How to become a client?

If you want to become a customer and you think you meet our criteria, you can contact our local partners:

DGASPC (General Direction for Social Care and Child Protection) of the 1st sector in Bucharest
Bd. Mareşal Averescu nr. 17, corp I, sector 1, Bucharest
Phone: +40 (0)212 234 286

Serviciul Public de Asistenta Sociala, Consiliul Local al Municipiului Sibiu
Bd. Victoriei nr. 1-3, Sibiu
Phone: +40 (0)269 208 800 929

What are the criteria to become a client?

In order to support people who can really benefit from SOMARO’s activities, we select individuals and families at each of our locations who are allowed to shop in our stores, whereby we adhere to certain objective selection criteria, which you can review here (in Romanian only).

Where do the goods come from?

Our products are donated by trade, industry, gastronomy, agriculture and private individuals. They are not designated to be sold in conventional shops, because the packaging might be soiled or slightly damaged, or even close to their best-before date, yet still suitable for consumption or use.

We are very thankful for the support of our sponsors – without them this amazing project would not be possible! If you would also like to become a sponsor of SOMARO, please click here to learn more about your benefits!

How can I support the project?

Thank you very much for you interest in SOMARO! There are basically three ways of supporting SOMARO: You can donate goods, money or time! To get more details please click here!

Is your sponsoring to SOMARO tax deductible?

Yes, it is! Every profit-oriented company in Romania can deduct 20% of its taxes on earnings (up to max. 2% of total sales volume). The only thing needed is a sponsorship contract between the donating company and SOMARO. If you have more questions regarding this point please contact our store manager in Bucharest, Mr. Simon Suitner.

Who is responsible for the products’ quality?

From the point when we have collected the products from our suppliers (e.g. at their shop or storage facility) and both parties have signed the delivery note(s) SOMARO is responsible for the products’ quality as well as its correct transporting and warehousing. Thus our suppliers are not liable in the event of any problems with the products!

What are SOMARO’s hygiene standards?

Although many of our products have minor packaging damage or are near to their expiry dates, we only sell top-quality products that are completely harmless to consume. Please note that SOMARO must meet the same hygiene standards as every “normal” supermarket – that is controlled by the independent local authorities on a regular basis!

Can SOMARO assure that the cold chain is not interrupted?

For optimum storage of food products, all SOMARO shops, warehouses and transporters are equipped with refrigerating units. Thus we can assure fully professional transportation and warehousing and the high product quality that our clients expect.

Can SOMARO also accept frozen food?

In general, we also accept frozen food. However, it depends on the store and the current storage situation. Therefore, we would kindly ask you to contact the respective store manager if you would like to donate frozen food.

What if products in the shop reach their expiry date?

SOMARO does not sell products that have passed their expiry date as this is forbidden by Romanian law. However, it is one of SOMARO’s core principles to reduce the waste of still consumable products. Thus, we monitor the expiry dates of our products on a daily basis. In the (very rare) event that a larger quantity of products is getting very close to its expiry date we donate these products to affiliated humanitarian organisations. Thereby, we can assure that the products are consumed by people who really need them! Please note that these donations are always made before the products have passed their expiry dates!

Does SOMARO also pick-up products from outside Romania?

In general, SOMARO aims at reducing the waste of still consumable products within Romania. Under certain circumstances, however, we will also take over products from abroad. One important condition, for example, would be that it is a larger consignment of products because otherwise the transportation costs would be too high.

If you want to donate products from abroad please contact us!

Does SOMARO buy products?

No! SOMARO is a non-profit organisation. Its concept is based on donations by companies. Without any exception we cannot buy products in order to sell them in our shops. This also includes highly discounted products.

However, there are many advantages for companies to cooperate with SOMARO:

  • We advertise your company authentically, effectively – and free of charge!
  • With us you can save money!
  • We assure that you can focus on your core business!

To learn more about these advantages please click here!

How does SOMARO use financial donations?

You might think that we do not need any financial donations as we generate income by selling our products at symbolic prices. But it is the other way around – there are several reasons why we need your financial support:

  • To open new locations: The establishment of a new SOMARO store is very costly. For example, for each store we have to buy a transporter with cooling system, we must find and adapt the right facilities both for the store and the warehouse, etc.
  • To balance fluctuations in sales: As our experience shows, there are high fluctuations in our sales since we do not receive the same quantity of products each week. In order to balance these fluctuations we are dependent on regular financial donations.
  • To keep the very low price level: Our running costs are relatively stable. To prevent having to raise prices in periods of lower supplies we need financial support!

Please click here to get more details about how you can support SOMARO!

What can volunteers experience at SOMARO?

Donating time is one of the most precious gifts you can make! And it comes with many advantages for you:

  • Being part of a young social start-up that does not the ordinary thing but takes new, innovative ways!
  • Being in direct contact with people at the margin of our society and to experience the impact of social work!
  • Working in a young, friendly and motivating team!
  • Earning a certificate which records and acknowledges volunteer work (for CV etc.)!
  • Having a lot of fun!

If you are interested in volunteering at SOMARO please contact the store manager of the market  you want to work for!

Is SOMARO a political initiative or is it affiliated to a political party?

Absolutely not! SOMARO is a private, self-governing, non-profit, and politically independent Romanian association, founded at the private initiative of several partners on 30th April 2010. The project is financed by sponsorship and volunteer work and it is independent of funding from the public sector.

Could there also be a SOMARO store in my town or region?

In the future, we want to increase the number of SOMARO stores in Romania. With this in view we are constantly looking for new partnerships and sponsors. Moreover, the implementation of so-called ‘mobile social supermarkets’, which can service under-supplied rural areas in particular, is a challenge that we are keen to approach, if the specific circumstances are appropriate.

We are grateful for any suggestions to bring us to your town or region! There are, however, certain pre-conditions to fulfil –  regarding suppliers, location and networks, for example –  before the next steps can be taken to establish a new store. Please contact our general manager, Simon Suitner, for more information on that!


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