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Not Your Average Thrift Store: The History of Buffalo Exchange Featured Story

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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!

 

Stories


6 Summer Style Trends to Keep You Cool for the Summer

"Summer Style" banner showing post title and four people wearing bright colored summer outfits

 

As the weather heats up, this year’s summer style trends are guaranteed to keep you looking and feeling cool. The best part? They’re easier to put together than ever. From bright colors, patterns and textures to classic Americana and some seriously nostalgic throwbacks, these trends aren’t about playing it safe – they’re about playing it up and wearing what makes you feel the most you! Read on for some of our fav warm-weather styles – all available at a Buffalo near you.

 

six photos showing jumpsuits; top left: floral two piece, top middle: two piece green set, top right: strawberry jumpsuit, bottom left: green one piece jumpsuit, bottom middle: two piece gingham jacket with shorts, bottom right: two piece leopard set with leopard tie

One and Done 

This one-and-done summer style trend is about trading in your track suits for a more tailored matching suits and jump suits. The one and done is making a comeback for a second year, proving not all trends are fleeting, and this trend is back and bigger than ever. The matching set is effortlessly stylish, and just like the ease of a jumpsuit the foundation allows for you to keep it simple or have some fun by adding coordinating accessories to you co-ord look. This year we see the addition of cut-outs and is sure to be one of the hottest looks this summer.

 

 

A collection of 6 images showing Y2K style: top row is crop tops, paired with low rise jeans and a bucket hat, a midi skirt, and a person jumping in a pastel purple set; bottom row is Y2K patterns printed on a dress and denim pants, platform shoes, and a bucket hat

Y2K is Here to Stay

Think platforms, bucket hats, metallic, smiley faces, flames, yin yangs and butterflies–did that list give you an early aughts flashback? If you’re feeling nostalgic, you’re in luck: Y2K is here for the summer! This summer style trend is all about having fun and bringing out your inner child with butterfly hair clips, fuzzy bucket hats, crop tops, platforms and more. 

 

A series of six photos showing brightly colored outfits and accessories; top left: a bright yellow dress with pink flowers, top middle: rainbow crop top and bright floral maxi skirt, top right: lacy outfits paired with butterfly flared pants, bottom left: bold crop top and rainbow overalls, bottom middle: neon floral and neon striped dresses, and bottom right matching fuzzy cloud two-piece set

Summer Style Trends to the Max

While we still love a monochromatic look, we can’t deny our passion for all things bright and bold and colorful. Maximalism, a.k.a. Dopamine Dressing, is about getting dressed up, having fun and maximizing your style with bright colors, bold patterns and fun textures. The best part about this summer style trend? It has no rules – mix and match or don’t match at all! The trick is finding a few common colors or patterns to repeat throughout. Most importantly: if it makes you feel good, wear it. You might be surprised how much a feel-good outfit could wind up brightening up your day (and the day of those around you)!

 

six photos showing tailored, timeless outfits including a red corset top paired with a red slip skirt, a yellow suit, a silk head scarf with vintage glasses and an orange blouse with glass buttons, a brightly patterned vintage silk blouse, statement sleeves with structured pants, and two women wearing trousers paired with a structured shirt and a collar

Low-Key Luxury

After two years in loungewear it’s no surprise that everyone is ready to get out and dress to impress. But while some are going the maximalist route, others are opting for low-key luxury. This summer style trend isn’t about breaking the bank – it’s more about finding timeless pieces that elevate your look with minimal effort. Layer a classic button-up or suit jacket over your athleisure items or play with silk blouses and head scarves, corsets, lace, tailored trousers and statement sleeves. These pieces will keep you feeling like a million bucks long beyond the summer season.

 

six photos showing people wearing longer length shorts; top row is three denim mid-length shorts, and bottom row shows pink shorts, grey gender-neutral shorts, and striped cargo shorts

The Short Report

Since the announcement that skinny jeans have been surpassed by bigger, baggier pants (RIP, sorry millennials), it’s no surprise that the same goes for their shorter counterparts. This summer, trade in your short shorts for looser, mid-length denim cut-offs, bermudas and cargos. The key to this trend is playing with proportions! Pair these with a crop top and an oversize button for an easy summer outfit. 

 

six photos showing western accessories, including: cowboy hats, red saguaro cowboy boots, a man wearing pink overalls with a pink cowboy hat, a patchwork dress, two men wearing denim and bandanas, and a red t-shirt dress being paired with white cowboy boots

Americana Accessories

This summer accessory trend is giving a fun twist on the Wild Western classics–bright colored Western hats, metallic or decorative cowboy boots, bolo ties as necklaces and cow print everything. There are lots of fun ways to mix-up and mix in this Americana aesthetic, but if you’d rather go more tried-and-true over trendy, opt for flowy maxi dresses, beautiful silver or turquoise jewelry, a bandana with your Levi’s, or cowboy boots with just about anything to add a bit of western flair to any outfit!

 

Whether you’re all about the nostalgic Y2K feels and you’re on the hunt for the perfect bucket hat or you’re searching for a go-to pair of boots to finish off your Americana aesthetic, stop by your local Buffalo. We’re fully stocked for the summer with warm weather essentials like shorts, breezy dresses, classic tees, short-sleeved button-downs, sunglasses, hats, casual sneakers and sandals. Looking to up your summer style game without going on a spending spree? Bring in your closet cleanout and grab cash or trade for your past favorites. There’s no appointment needed to sell, so stop in anytime!

Stories


Meet Nicole, Jewelry Maker, Music Lover, Master of Eclectic Style, and Floor Security Assistant at Buffalo Exchange Houston!

colorful header with three photos of Nicole Murphy

As a self-described ‘Army brat’, Nicole spent her childhood moving from place to place, including Arizona, before settling in Houston. Some of her favorite things about the city are its nightlife, public parks, ever-growing variety of new places to eat and exciting diversity: “It’s constantly growing — everybody brings a little something to Houston and it’s rich with different cultures and styles.” 

Long into fashion, Nicole describes her personal style as eclectic and ever-evolving. As a kid, she was into grunge — nowadays, vintage, Western and sustainable styles are her go-tos! Where does she find inspiration? “Sometimes, it’ll come at night while I’m looking in my closet and I’m always looking at Instagram and Pinterest. If I have a new piece and I’m wondering how to style it, I’ll watch old black-and-white movies for old glam Hollywood inspiration.”

Outside of work, Nicole’s hobbies are just as variable as her style: from jewelry-making to volunteering at Friends 4 Life Animal Rescue to grooving out to tunes from Prince and David Bowie. When it’s time to unwind, Nicole turns to spirituality podcasts and a holistic self-care routine (including snuggling her Jack Russell Terrier!)

Nicole Murphy posing in front of a colorful wall, she is wearing a white blouse, striped overalls, a scarf tied on her neck and a hat

Nicole’s Buffalo hiring story is a familiar one: 9 years ago while shopping in the store, an employee suggested Nicole apply. She wasn’t so sure at first —  “Everyone was so fashionable and cool!” But of course, with prior retail experience and a friendly personality, Nicole was a shoe-in for the job! Other than the sweet threads, Nicole’s favorite part about working at Buffalo is meeting new people. “When they come in, they like to tell me how they’re doing, and it’s cool seeing their kids grow up over the years. At other retail jobs, you’re zipping around doing this and that, but at Buffalo, I can take the time out to listen. Sometimes people just need to be heard, and if I can make a little bit of a difference, that enriches my life.” 

For Nicole, the key to success is finding your inner peace and remembering that you’re not in it alone: “Come in with an open mind and open heart, know who you are as a person, but also be willing to learn and grow. Find peace wherever you can, treat your store like a team and, while you’re putting your job first, don’t forget to put yourself first, too!” 

Interested in a job where you can dress the way you want, work with amazing people and talk about fashion all day, every day? Join the herd! We’re hiring Buyers, Cashiers, Associate Store Managers, Floor Security Assistants and more across the US and offer amazing perks like full healthcare coverage (even for part-timers), store discount, PTO, a 401 (k) matching program, profit-based bonuses and lots more. Stop by your local store or apply online!

Stories


A Chat With Celia: Store Manager Buffalo Exchange Chicago (Andersonville)

colorful header with three photos of Celia Conte

 

What led you to work for Buffalo Exchange?

While in school, I was working other retail jobs, but I also couldn’t stop thrifting whenever I had a day off. I had been shopping at Buffalo since I was a sophomore in high school, when I found a fabulous tutu dress for a semiformal dance. I thought, “Why not get paid to look for those one-of-a-kind pieces?” So I applied!

 

What was your path to becoming a Store Manager?

Since I started at Buffalo, I was hooked on just how much I was learning every day. I couldn’t wait to share what I found out with my coworkers and learn from them as well. My Store Manager and Area Manager saw this in me and encouraged me to go for it. I wouldn’t be here today without their support.

 

What makes the Andersonville store unique?

The Andersonville community is so strong. They really want to see the businesses in their neighborhood thrive, so they come back to us again and again. The Chamber of Commerce also puts on festivals, sales and guides to help draw people in. Being newer in the area, it really made our store feel welcome and helped us succeed!

 

How would you describe your fashion style?

I’m more about outstanding pieces than a particular aesthetic. My closet spans from 50s vintage to modern sleek designer garb. If I can find the vintage piece that inspired the ones they’re making now, that’s my holy grail.

 

What advice has been the most meaningful to you?

“It’s just clothes.” It’s a reminder that our job is FUN and clothes are fun and that’s why everyone is here. Obviously, there’s more to the job than just clothes, but it helps me remember that I have the power to control my day! 

Want a job where you can work with friendly people, dress creatively, and be yourself? Stop into your local Buffalo or apply online and start your career in fashion! Bring your love of clothing and Buffalo will teach you the rest. 

Stories


Thanks for Supporting the Pollinator Partnership By Shopping Our Earth Day $1 Sale!

Bee and plant themed yellow graphic reads "Thank you! With your help, we raised $39,293 benefiting Pollinator Partnership

 

Did you shop the $1 Sale at Buffalo Exchange on Earth Day weekend? If so, give yourself a pat on the back: thanks to secondhand-savvy shoppers like yourself, we raised $39,293 for Pollinator Partnership, the world’s leading non-profit dedicated to improving the health and habitats of pollinators in North America and around the globe! Psst… now’s the perfect time to plant your pollinator-friendly garden. If you’re looking to foster your green thumb, check out Pollinator Partnership’s regional planting guides.

Woman wearing floral skirt set holds a Buffalo Exchange tote bag standing in front of a pop up canopy

On Saturday, April 23rd, customers around the country queued up at their local Buffalo Exchange stores to shop a special selection of clothing, shoes and accessories for just $1 apiece. Rising early to arrive with dollar bills in hand and empty tote bags in-tow, these shoppers knew this $1 Sale would be too good to miss. Luckily, despite a few drops of rain here and there, Saturday was a beautiful day and the sale went off without a hitch! 

Crowd of people standing in front of Buffalo Exchange New Orleans's teal exterior

As the first Earth Day $1 Sale after a 2-year hiatus, this year’s sale was all the more special. Tons of excited customers came out to put their dollars to excellent use and support The Pollinator Partnership. Since starting this sale in 1997, our Earth Day $1 sales have raised upwards of $757,694 for a variety of animal and environmental causes. In recent years, the $1 sale brought in over $50,000 apiece for The 5 Gyres Institute, which works to reduce microplastics in our oceans, and The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team.

Two people smiling stand next to each other holding armfuls of clothes

If you didn’t get a chance to shop this year, don’t fall to the FOMO just yet  — we’ll be back in April 2023 with another great environmental organization to support! And remember, you can celebrate the earth year-round by selling your closet cleanout and shopping sustainably at Buffalo Exchange. Shopping secondhand keeps clothing out of landfills and reduces pollution! Plus, with each shopping trip, you’ll have the chance to donate 5 cents to one of several local non-profits doing good in your community through our Tokens for Bags® program. Don’t think 5 cents can make a difference? Since 1994, Tokens for Bags® has raised over $893,860 for thousands of non-profits nationwide and kept over 17.8 plastic bags from polluting the environment. If you’re interested in letting your closet cleanout spark joy for someone new, we buy from open to close, 7 days a week, no appointment necessary. Stop in anytime!

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Don’t Hate – Pollinate! 5 Simple Ways to Support Pollinators This Earth Day

Did you know that pollinators like bees, butterflies, birds and more are responsible for bringing us 1 out of every 3 bites of food? In fact, they’re crucial to ecosystems across the globe! This Earth Day, Buffalo Exchange has joined forces with Pollinator Partnership to protect the irreplaceable animals and insects that pollinate our plants and, in turn, the entire planet. Just like pollinators, no action is too small to make a difference: read on for easy ways you can support pollinators in your neck of the woods!

 

closeup of a bumblebee collecting pollen from bright yellow flowers
Long Horned Bee by Anthony Colangelo

Make Your Garden a Pollinator Party Spot

With so many diverse species of pollinators out there, creating a green space with water and shade to attract bugs, birds and everything in-between will definitely bring the party to your plot. Short on space? No spot is too small for pollinators! Window boxes, small potted plants, and even strips of grass between your sidewalk and the street are perfect places for pollinators to recharge. If you need help figuring out what and how to plant, utilize Pollinator Partnership’s region-specific garden cards to GROW forth and prosper!

illustration of a hand spraying pesticides on abstract bushes from a sprayer with skull-and-crossbones

Hide the Insecticide 

We get it, creepy crawly critters may be unwanted guests in your garden, but insecticides often do more harm than good for the other benevolent bugs that call your yard home! Instead of relying on insecticides, you can dramatically reduce your usage by removing any infested plant matter and tossing anything that’s become a habitat where harmful insects hide. Once those pesky pests are gone, keep them out by planting native species that will ward off any new creatures from bugging your garden.

Beekeeper holding frame of honeycomb with working bees

Support the Bee(keepers!) 

This is certainly one of the sweetest ways to support pollinators. Skip a trip to the supermarket and treat yourself to a jar of honey directly from a local beekeeper. A quick Google search can direct you to tasty homemade — or should we say, hivemade — honey in your area! Spot a hive in your yard or neighborhood? Call up local beekeepers to move the bees rather than opting for an exterminator.

Grandmother, mother and daughter gardening together outdoors with a man landscaping in the background

Build the Buzz Around Pollinators

You don’t have to be an ecologist to spread the word about how beneficial bees and butterflies are to our environment! During National Pollinator Week (June 20-26), Pollinator Partnership will have a lineup of online and in-person events and activities to educate on the importance of pollinators. Share what you know with your friends and family, and encourage them to do the same: when we all work together, we fly farther!

graphic with honeycombs, bees and plants that reads "Earth Day $1 Sale April 23rd"

Shop the Buffalo Exchange Earth Day $1 Sale

Now, for our favorite way to support the pollinators: shopping the Earth Day $1 Sale! On Saturday, April 23rd, at all Buffalo locations (excluding outlets), shop a special selection of clothes, shoes and accessories for just $1 apiece. 100% of proceeds from the $1 Sale will go to Pollinator Partnership and their mission to protect our pollinators. 

As a bonus, here are four quick tips on making the most out of our annual Earth Day $1 Sale:

  1. PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY! Stock is limited and $1 items move quickly, so an early arrival is your best bet for scoring sweet items. The sale starts at normal store opening hours.
  2. BEFORE YOU GO, STOP BY THE ATM! Remember that the $1 Sale is CASH ONLY — make sure to stop by the ATM before you arrive.
  3. DRESS COMFORTABLY! Dressing rooms won’t be available for the $1 Sale, so dress comfortably in pieces you’ll be able to try on over.
  4. BRING A (REUSABLE) BAG! Chances are you’ll find lots of sweet finds, so plan ahead with your favorite reusable bag. If you’re in the market for a new carry-all, try our Buffalo Exchange reusable totes, made from 70% recycled plastic!

Stories


Our Earth Day $1 Sale is Back!

illustration of a bat, bee, butterfly, hummingbird, insects and flowers

Photo Credit: Pollinator Partnership

Who: Buffalo Exchange, of course!
What: A special selection of clothing for just $1 apiece with all proceeds going to Pollinator Partnership. ***CASH ONLY***
When: Saturday, April 23rd. Sale starts at normal opening hours for your local store
Where: All Buffalo Exchange Locations (Excluding Buffalo Outlets in Nogales, AZ and San Antonio, TX)

Mark your calendars and get your dollar bills ready, because on April 23rd, all Buffalo Exchange locations (with the exception of the Buffalo Outlets) will be hosting the annual Earth Day $1 Sale! You heard that right: you can shop a special selection of clothing, shoes and accessories for just ONE DOLLAR apiece, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of pollinators in order to sustain healthy ecosystems. That means each item you purchase at the $1 Sale will contribute directly to the improvement of critical habitats for these special species that keep our planet full of food, fruits and flowers! On the day of the Earth Day $1 Sale, all Buffalo Exchange stores will open during regular business hours, but it’ll be far from your typical Buffalo shopping trip — customers tend to line up early, with empty bags ready to be stuffed full of $1 items – so plan to arrive early and make sure to stop by the ATM on your way!  

hummingbird drinking from orange flower

So… What’s the Buzz with Pollinators? 

When you think about pollination, you probably picture a bee flying from bloom to bloom, drinking nectar and carrying with it the pollen needed to produce seeds for the next generation of plants and fruits. But did you know we also rely on bats, butterflies, birds, moths and other small mammals to spread pollen? These pollinators are all part of an intricate system crucial for repopulating 75-95% of the flowering plants that contribute to agriculture, natural resources and our food supply! In recent years, the decline of natural habitats, overuse of chemicals and changing climate patterns have had a negative impact on these pollinator populations – but don’t bee discouraged, the Pollinator Partnership is here to help!

Jamaican Fruit Bat covered with pollen sitting on pink flower buds

An Earth Day Initiative for Everyone 

The Pollinator Partnership started in San Francisco, California and has been studying pollinators for over three decades, providing scientific research and data, school educational programs and workshops to help educate the community, along with government initiatives and conservation efforts that now span the globe! They have programs to study migratory species like bats and Monarch butterflies that take flight to Mexico, various projects researching bee populations in places like Africa and South America, a dedicated Pollinator Partnership in Canada and established networks in Europe. Here in the United States, they offer up a wealth of information about gardens and farming, seeds and restoration for your region, leaving you no shortage of ways to get involved.

 

Did you know? Pollinators are responsible for:

  • 1 in 3 bites of the food you eat!
  • ½ of the world’s oil, fiber and raw materials
  • Prevention of soil erosion
  • Contribution of 217 billion dollars to the global economy
  • Cleaning the air we breathe
  • Supporting other wildlife and their natural habitats
  • And even protection from severe weather conditions
monarch butterfly on pink flowers
photo credit: Pollinator Partnership

How Do You Become a Pollinator Partner? 
Check our blog and social media regularly throughout April, where we’ll be sharing easy pollination tips, announcing some fun surprises and continuing to share info about our Earth Day $1 Sale benefiting the Pollinator Partnership. 

Want to get a jump start? Here are three things you can do today:

  1. Save the date: April 23rd! When you shop the Buffalo Exchange $1 Sale, you’ll be directly supporting the Pollinator Partnership’s efforts (not to mention scoring cute clothes!)
  2. Tell your friends – share your excitement and the new info you’ve learned about the importance of pollinating species. Then, of course, bring them shopping to support the cause!
  3. Check out the Pollinator Partnership website – they showcase lots of ways you can help our planet’s pollinators, including regional planting guides and handy cards that make it easy to choose plants for your home garden that will help attract and support the pollination process in your area. If that’s got you buzzing with excitement, stay tuned — we’ll be sharing more tips and tricks to becoming a Pollinator Hero all month long!
bee sitting on yellow flowers
photo credit: Pollinator Partnership

Stories


The Five C’s of Cleaning Your Closet and Selling at Buffalo Exchange

Header image with illustration of of clothes hanging on a rack

 

Cleaning out your closet can be a challenging process, especially if it’s been a while since you last did a deep dive through your wardrobe. In the spirit of spring cleaning, we’re here to help with the ‘Five C’s’ of a closet cleanout: 

1. CLEAR

2. CONSIDER

3. CHECK

4. CALL

5. CASH

Ready to learn more? Keep reading for our top tips for sorting through your closet and cashing in on your clothes like a pro! 

Full closet with Buffalo Exchange bag

CLEAR Out Your Closet 

Sure, this first step may seem obvious, but we really mean it — taking everything out of your closet is a great way to 1.) make sure that you’re grabbing any hidden pieces of clothing stuffed into the nooks and crannies of your closet and 2.) make it easier to visualize what your dream closet looks like. It’s called spring cleaning, but don’t stop there: clean out your clothes from all seasons! From here, you can divide and conquer: separate your clothes into categories like winter coats, summer shorts, and every in between. Don’t forget to sort through accessories, and shoes, too! 

 

clothes on bed with Buffalo Exchange bag

CONSIDER Each Piece

Now that your closet is a blank slate, it’s time to thoughtfully consider each piece to decide whether you’ll keep, sell or donate. At this step, you’ll want to ask yourself a few things like: 

Have I worn this recently, or am I saving it for a special occasion? 

How many times have I worn it, is it something that makes sense with the rest of my wardrobe?

Does it still fit and do I feel comfortable wearing it? 

Am I holding onto it for sentimental reasons? 

Each piece — and person — is different, but generally the things you keep should be what you’re currently wearing, items you know for sure you’ll return to in the future (like when the seasons change), and things that make you feel comfortable and confident. If you really aren’t sure that you’re ready to part with an item, try hanging it front and center in your closet — if it’s been fully in your line of sight for a few weeks (or even a few months) and you still haven’t reached for it, that can be a clear sign that it’s time to part ways so it can bring joy to someone new. Which leads us into the next C…

 

Clean clothes sitting on washing machine

CHECK the Condition 

Before you sell or donate an item you’re not wearing, be sure to check thoroughly for holes, rips, loose seams and stains. Trust me, as a longtime Buffalo Exchange seller myself, there will be times when you’re sure that your items are in great condition, but when you’ve arrived at the store, a spot magically appears. It’s worth your time to check once and then again for good measure. Still, if you overlook an item with some wear, don’t stress — if it’s a great piece, your Buyer will most likely suggest that you run it through the wash and bring it in again on your next visit! 

 

Buffalo Exchange employee looking through clothes to buy

CALL Ahead

You can walk in anytime to sell your closet cleanout at Buffalo Exchange, but as a new seller it’s never a bad idea to give them a call before you arrive. Have a vintage floor-length leather coat, a pair of designer sunglasses and a collection of button-downs from your office job that you’re not sure they’ll buy? When in doubt, talk it out! When you speak with a Buyer, they’ll be happy to answer your questions about the selling process and can give you an idea of what they’re currently looking for. Of course, they can’t guarantee whether or not they’ll be able to buy an item without seeing it in person first, but it can take away the mystery of what happens behind the Buy Counter! 

 

Woman in white top with cash in hand

CASH — or Trade — Out! 

Once your buyer has finished going through your items, you’ll have a choice between taking cash or trade for the things you sold. While both definitely have their benefits (and who doesn’t like a little extra cash in their wallet?), we always suggest going with the trade! Before you head to the register, take a spin around the sales floor to see what your trade could buy — you’d be surprised at how many times sellers will cash out first, only to find an item on their online wishlist in the store just a few minutes later! Plus, even if you don’t plan to shop on this particular visit,  it’s good to remember that trade never expires and can be used at any Buffalo Exchange location from coast to coast. 

 

Happy seller sitting on bed with bags of clothes in Buffalo Exchange totes

Now that you’ve learned the five c’s of selling your closet cleanout, find your nearest Buffalo Exchange here! We buy the best of all seasons year round, and you’ll get cash or trade to put towards your refreshed wardrobe. When you’re ready to go, stop by anytime —your closet will thank you! 

 

Stories


7 Spring Style Trends to Try This Season

Colorful abstract graphic background, left side photo of 2 women wearing vintage style floral dresses, the center reads 7 Spring style trends to try this season and to the right a photo of two people wearing colorful clothing

New season, new wardrobe! Fresh off the runways of New York and London Fashion Week, we’ve handpicked some of the stand-out spring style trends we’re most looking forward to this season. Scroll through to see our favorite warm-weather trends and tips on how to wear them!

A man posing in front of Buffalo Exchange Pittsburgh wearing a rainbow Gucci shirt A man and a woman posing at a park wearing colorful clothing a woman posing by a window wearing a patch work colorful dress and a yellow cardigan

ROY-G-BIV’in It Up in Bright Colors 

If your fall/winter wardrobe was dominated by neutrals and you’re ready for a change, this first spring style trend is for you: welcome the warmer weather with saturated colors — the brighter the better! Neons, classic bold primaries and even rich jewel tones all fall under the bright-color umbrella and there’s no shortage of ways to style them. While bright color can be a big step if your sense of style is more reserved, don’t be discouraged from trying it yourself. Instead of head-to-toe color, try finishing off your look with a bright pair of shoes, handbag or other accessories. The whole point of this trend is to have fun, and you’ll win big points for creativity!

a woman posing by a fence wearing a grey plaid jacket and matching mini skirt, white boots and a brown two people wearing white collared shirts and sweater vests Buffalo Exchange employee posing in blue sweater and white tennis skirt 

Prep’s Cool! 

Started by the Ivy League crowd in the 1940s, brought back by college students in the 80s and then again in the early 2000s (remember when everyone was wearing layered polos?), this trend has some serious staying power. Like most of fashion, what’s old is new again, and this look originally associated with old money is back with a new twist. For 2022, we’re seeing this spring style trend take a new form with dramatic proportion play, like pairing cropped sweater vests with oversized oxford shirts and platform loafers. For a more subdued take on the preppy trend, add blazers, matching sets, cardigans and pleated skirts into your wardrobe rotation.

Girl posing wearing green floral jumpsuit and matching vintage luggage Two women posing together wearing vintage-inspired floral dresses Buffalo Exchange employee posing in front of Tucson location wearing yellow floral dress

Flashback-Worthy Florals 

We know, we know, florals for spring aren’t exactly groundbreaking. Still, the beauty of floral prints is that they’re perennial (that means “present at all seasons of the year,” for all you non-gardeners out there). The latest iteration of this spring style trend is a groovy, vintage-feeling motif that blends floral patterns from the 60s, 70s and 90s. Wear them in modern styles like a jumpsuit, or go for the real thing with a vintage sheath dress!

Girl Posing wearing red low-rise pants and a graphic tank top girl wearing low-rise patchwork jeans and a black corset tank top

Shawty Get Low Low Low

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the low-rise pants of the early 00s are back! Drop your rise and throw on a crop top for an easy spring look. 

Woman posing with an oversized orange Telfar bag Girl in hat with a yellow oversized Kipling backpack Person posing in neutral colored clothing holding an oversized utility bag

BAG ALERT: XXL Bags Are a Major Spring Style Trend

Major bag alert. Although not a core piece of clothing, the right bag is crucial to finishing any outfit. This spring, we’re seeing the opposite of the teensy-tiny handbags of 2021. Now that we’re back on-the-go, you’ll want a bag that can carry a wide array of items. If a truly gargantuan bag like the size ‘Large’ Telfar or oversized Kipling backpack feel like too much to handle, go for a reasonably “oversized” tote instead!

Close-up a person wearing Frida Kahlo socks and purple platform sandals Close up of person wearing bright orange platform converse sneakers Three pairs of 70's inspired platform heels in neon citrus colors

Can You Take Me Higher? Platforms, Please! 

The party shoe is back, and it’s not waiting until the sun goes down to strut its stuff — this is a fun spring style trend you’ll want to show off in the daytime! Surprisingly versatile with styles ranging from boots to sandals or even sneakers, there’s no shortage of platforms to pick from. If you’re not quite ready for the high-life, start small with a flatform. Dress them down for a casual look with jeans and your favorite tee, or go all out on nostalgia with 70s-inspired platforms and a maxi skirt with a floor-sweeping hemline. The possibilities are as endless as the compliments you’ll get!

Two women wearing varsity jackets Flat lay of clothing including a Michigan varsity jacket with matching sneakers and a graphic t-shirt Buffalo Exchange employee wearing varsity jacket with brown leather sleeves

Smells Like Team Spirit: Varsity Jackets

As we transition out of cold-weather outerwear, here’s one jacket style that still made the cut for spring style trends: varsity jackets! Also known as ‘Letterman’ jackets, so named for the team letters traditionally sewn across the chest, varsity jackets aren’t just for jocks anymore — we’ve seen them everywhere, from the runways to the red carpet.

This Next Spring Style Trend Needs No Introduction…

Saving the best for last, here’s the biggest spring style trend of all: shopping secondhand! Sustainability is always in style, and the best way to switch up your style for the new season is by cleaning out your closet and selling at Buffalo Exchange — it is called spring cleaning, after all! Your past favorite pieces could help grow into trade to spend on a fresh new look just in time for the warmer weather. To scll your closet cleanout, stop by your local Buffalo Exchange anytime!

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Support These 5 Awesome Non-Profits Just By Shopping

Support These 5 Awesome Non-Profits Just By Shopping

Back in 1994, Buffalo Exchange decided to start encouraging people to skip the single-use plastic bags and instead donate the cost of that bag to local non-profits. This idea turned into our Tokens for Bags® program – and what a success it has been! So far, we’ve raised over $874,676 for thousands of local charities and kept over 17.4 million bags from polluting the environment. Read on for just a few of the amazing organizations that you can support now through June 2022.

826 MSP at BE Minneapolis

A woman reading a book to four children in a classroom

A woman holding a microphone and reading a book

Two teenagers sitting in a classroom holding a book with the title "Words Unburden Me"

826 MSP’s mission is to empower underserved K–12 students to think creatively, write effectively, and succeed academically alongside a community of caring volunteers. If you’re in Minneapolis, show them your support by dropping them a token next time you stop in to shop. 

P:ear at BE Portland (Hawthorne)

A man painting a large colorful mural

Four people sitting around a table reading one book

to the right a woman sitting at a table painting and to the left a man standing and paining on a blank canvas

P:ear builds positive relationships with homeless youth through education, art, recreation, and job training to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful and healthier lives. Next time you’re strolling Hawthorne, stop into Buffalo to help out homeless youth in the area.

The People Concern at BE Santa Monica

A volunteer bringing supplies to a homeless camp site

a volunteer handing supplies to a person

The People Concern believes no one should have to live on the street or in a violent household. Their staff and volunteers work together to address the effects of homelessness, poverty, mental and physical illness, abuse, and addiction. With their programs, they look to empower the most vulnerable among us to improve their quality of life – housed, healthy and safe – and become active participants in the community. You can do your part by dropping your token in their box next time you make a purchase at BE Santa Monica!

Open Space Institute at BE Astoria 

a couple and a toddler surrounded by trees(Photo By Bob Stone Courtesy Open Space Institute)

A couple walking in a large open area full of grass and trees(Photo by Greg Miller Courtesy Open Space Institute)

Two children hiking in the snow(Photo by Jerry Monkman Courtesy Open Space Institute)

Open Space Institute protects land that supports important natural resources like clean water, climate protection, and healthy communities, and safeguards the places that make life worth living, like parks for recreation and plant and animal habitats. Over the past 40 years, they helped save millions of acres through land acquisition, funding, research, and advocacy. They also increased access to the great outdoors through their support of grassroots efforts and park enhancement projects. If you love the outdoors, stop into BE Astoria and donate your token to Open Space Institute!

HousingPlus at BE Brooklyn 

A group of 9 people sitting at a table posing and having a good time

A family of 5 sitting close to each other and smiling

A Mother and their two children sitting down close to each other and smiling

HousingPlus provides under-served women and families the keys to build lives of their own. They provide housing so these women can create real homes and address the traumatic events that may have led to their homelessness. They also offer employment services that help them get jobs. This uniquely holistic approach empowers women to achieve personal and financial security for themselves and their families. Head into BE Brooklyn to give back to HousingPlus!

We’re so glad we have the chance to support the great work of these and other non-profit organizations through our Tokens for Bags® program. We sponsor four local non-profits at each location and rotate them every six months, so click through to find out which orgs you can give back to right now. Before you head in to shop, be sure to pack your reusable bag or pick up one of our super cute designs in-store – they’re made of 70% recycled plastic bottles!  

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Happy New Year and Thank You for An Amazing 2021!

Buffalo Exchange tote bag that reads "Buffalo Exchange, Buy Sell Trade Fashion" is stacked with clothing and sits on a light wood table surrounded by confetti and silver tinsel. The background is a close-up of rainbow confetti

As 2021 comes to a close, we want to say thank you to our customers and employees for an amazing year. Although the pandemic brought a unique set of challenges, your commitment and contributions to Buffalo Exchange were the not-so-secret ingredients to our success, and we wouldn’t be here without you! Cheers to you and the New Year. We can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish in the months ahead — here’s to a bright 2022! 

New year, new you — but how about a new career? If you’re looking to try something new in 2022, join the herd here at Buffalo Exchange! Check out current openings and apply online or in-store today. We’ll see you next year!