Earth Day $1 Day Sale Benefiting HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team!

It’s that magical time of year when shopping at Buffalo Exchange does some EXTRA good: our Earth Day $1 Day Sale is back, this time benefiting the Humane Society of the United States! On Saturday, April 20th, all Buffalo Exchange locations across the country (excluding outlets) will have a selection of men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories for just $1 APIECE! It gets even better – 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Humane Society of The United States and their efforts to rescue animals from natural disasters and abusive conditions. The sale is CASH ONLY and clothes move quickly, so be sure to get there early! Sale starts at each location’s normal opening hours and goes until supplies run out.  Click here for more info on The Humane Society of The United States and the Animal Rescue Team.

***CASH ONLY***

Location: All Buffalo Exchange Stores (excluding outlets)
Date: Saturday, April 20
Time: Normal Store Opening Hours – While Supplies Last


Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange Vintage Photos

Not Your Average Thrift Store: The History of Buffalo Exchange

By Jessica Pruitt

In 1974, when Kerstin Block first had the idea for a different sort of secondhand shop, she never expected it to grow into what it is today – she just followed her love of thrift store shopping. “I came upon the idea that there must be other people who are equally addicted to this kind of shopping, but who didn’t want to sort through as much stuff.” Enter a whole new business model – a resale shop where customers could buy hand-picked treasures in one place and also sell their clothes for cash or trade on-the-spot.

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Kerstin outside first location

From Thrift Store to Resale Boutique: The First Buffalo Exchange

At the time, Kerstin had recently been fired from a job at a local furniture shop. When she mentioned that she’d like to try opening her own business, her husband Spencer was all for it. To start, they rented out a small 400 square foot spot in Tucson, AZ and filled the store with pieces from Kerstin’s own closet. They also asked friends to bring things in. Soon enough, they had a bustling business buying, selling and trading the likes of denim skirts handmade by Kerstin, Hawaiian shirts and Kork-Ease sandals, drawing in lots of students from the University of Arizona. Their most common price? $3.50.

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Kerstin holding clothing

Originally from Sweden, Kerstin chose “Buffalo” because she liked the way it evoked the American West. Spencer contributed the “Exchange” half of the name since that’s precisely what they would be doing – opening up a shop where you could exchange your clothing for cash or trade on-the-spot, an uncommon model at the time. And just like that, they ran the business together, doing everything themselves. Kerstin was the face of the store, running the register and doing all the buying. Spencer worked behind the scenes, creating clothing racks out of water pipes and handling the accounting.

Resale wasn’t very popular at the time, but they knew there would always be people who wanted to find something cute for a good deal: they just didn’t necessarily want to dig through so many pieces in a thrift store setting. “We made it look like a little boutique,” says Kerstin. They handpicked each item based on what their customers were interested in buying and displayed them in a fun, easy-to-shop space.

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Spencer and Kerstin inside store 1977

Charting New Territory

Kerstin and Spencer didn’t know much about business, but they weren’t afraid to venture into uncharted territory. Par for the course for Kerstin, who struck out on her own at the age of 18, taking a boat over from Sweden to study at the University of Arizona. What they initially lacked in business knowledge, they made up for in strong values. “We built our business on a lot of principles,” she says, “such as respecting people and treating everybody fairly and listening to people. Those are our tenets in business.”

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Staff in front of store mid 70s

As they opened more locations – a store here and a store there – those tenets only grew. They knew how important it was to be honest and the value of people – both employees and customers alike. After all, they relied on their customers to bring in clothing and they relied on their employees to build a diverse inventory. To do this, they valued individuality and embraced the things that make each person unique. They empowered people, taking into consideration what they wanted out of the job and teaching them how the business works.

Perhaps it’s these tenets (not to mention a true passion for clothing) that have kept the business going strong for 45 years and counting. Today, Buffalo Exchange is still owned and operated out of Tucson, AZ by Kerstin and her daughter, Vice President Rebecca Block. Kerstin still oversees the daily operations of the business. “What I’m most proud of is how much we’ve been able to empower people – especially women,” she says. “That and the clothes. It’s always been about the clothes.” Now, that love for fashion has spread to around 50 stores – and growing all the time. Visit BuffaloExchange.com/Locations to find one near you!

 


Vintage Vandalizm Sip and Shop at Buffalo Exchange Las Vegas!

Calling all vintage lovers: Buffalo Exchange Las Vegas is pleased to announce that Jasmin of Vintage Vandalizm is hosting another Sip and Shop in our store this April! Join us on April 17th from 7-9pm for this exciting after-hours event. This is the perfect place to kick off your Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly weekend with a curated selection of amazing retro and vintage pieces. Sip on something from Makers + Finders, snack on sweet treats from Donut Bar LV,  snap pics of your vintage look in our photo booth and enter your name into the raffle for a Buffalo Exchange gift card! It doesn’t end there – the first ten attendees will receive a Buffalo Exchange tote bag filled with goodies from Sauavecita, Tatyana Boutique and more. We can’t wait to see you there!


Buffalo Exchange Manhattan Wants Your Menswear!

Hello, Manhattan: Buffalo Exchange Chelsea and East Village are currently buying men’s clothing! We’re looking for menswear for all seasons, from denim and jackets to button-downs and shorts. If you’ve got an overflowing collection of shoes and accessories like sunglasses and hats, we buy those too! The things you once loved but no longer wear have the potential to become extra spending cash or trade to spend at your favorite Buffalo Exchange. Want us to sweeten the deal?  If you come in and sell three or more menswear items from your closet cleanout between now and March 31st, you’ll receive a $5 off coupon to spend on your springtime wardrobe re-up. Not to mention, selling between now and our 45th Anniversary Pop-Up Shop on March 16-17th will enter you in the drawing for a $1,000 Buffalo Exchange gift card. Fill up your reusable tote bags with your spring cleanout and visit us today!


Buffalo Exchange San Francisco and Costa Mesa are Buying for Spring!

Hey, Cali! If you’re ready to clean out your closet for spring, be sure to bring the things you’re no longer wearing to Buffalo Exchange Berkeley, San Francisco (Haight St) and Costa Mesa! We’re looking for warm weather pieces like dresses, short-sleeve button downs, tees and shorts. Since it’s still cool at night, we’re also buying lightweight jackets and sweaters. Cleaning out shoes and accessories like sunglasses and hats? We take those, too! Bringing in your closet cleanout could turn your past favorites into extra cash or trade to spend on new-to-you pieces. But that’s not all: if you come in to sell between now and March 17th, you can enter to win a $1,000 Buffalo Exchange gift card as part of our 45th Anniversary celebration!


Coats for Cubs: Give Your Furs Back to the Animals

Now announcing our 2019 Coats for Cubs drive! From January 2 to April 22, you can donate your real fur coats and trimmings at any Buffalo Exchange location. All collected furs will be sent to wildlife rehabilitators, where they are repurposed into bedding that nurtures recovering wild animals, providing more warmth and familiarity than options like towels and sheets. These furs help injured and orphaned wildlife by keeping baby animals warm and minimizing human contact during the recovery process.

“It really helps the animals to have something to snuggle into,” says Jody Raines of Illinois Valley Wildlife Rehab. “It appears to relax them and makes them easier to work with. Every baby heads right to the fur hiding place when I take them in.”

Since 2006, when Buffalo Exchange first became involved with Coats for Cubs, we have collected and distributed over 15,108 furs. Last year alone, we collected 1,464 furs to give back to the animals. Help us make it another great year! To learn more and see photos of some of the animals who have benefitted from donated furs, visit CoatsforCubs.com.

Please note that we are not able to provide tax receipts since we are a collection point only and not a non-profit ourselves.  If you would like a tax receipt for your donation, you will need to reach out directly to a rehabber and coordinate the donation on your own. We have a list of rehabbers on the CoatsForCubs.org under the Wildlife Rehabilitator Info tab. Also, most states maintain their own directories of certified wildlife rehabilitators, which can be a great resource.