Frugal Find: Buffalo Exchange

I had my first experience in a Buffalo Exchange recently, and I fell in love.

For those of you who don’t know, Buffalo Exchange is a hip thrift store, that are popping up all over the country. My experience was at their Philadelphia location. My boyfriend was the one who told me about it, and judging by his sense of “style” I was skeptical. And plus, I thought I had known of every clothing store ever, so why didn’t I ever hear of this?

Oh boy, was I mistaken.

We walked into the Chestnut Street location on a cold day with more thoughts about the coffee I was holding rather than this store. We passed the cash register and a nice young woman greeted us at the door. Before I could make a judgment on the store, my eyes caught beautifully dressed manikins placed on a high shelf. I thought to myself, “I’d wear that. No, I love that outfit, I need it!”

I began going through the first rack of clothes I could find as my boyfriend drifts into the men’s section. I find skirts and shorts. And I could not believe what I was seeing.  These are name brand clothes for a discounted price. This is not your grandma’s thrift store!

The more labels I see, the more excited I get. There are Urban Outfitters brands, with the tags still on the item for less than half the price. I find a BDG black flare skirt for $8. I’m hooked. I ditch the coffee to be able to have two free hands to dig.

On to more racks, I find Gap, Ann Taylor, Express, Calvin Klein, and more. The clothes were clean, in good condition, and fairly new. I could not get over the prices! Everything was so cheap. I find a grey sweater for $12. (To match the skirt, of course.) I also find a black Bloomingdales scarf, and an emerald Pashmina scarf both for $10. Did I mention I was hooked?

Not only was their selection of clothing impressive, they had shoes too, everything from heels, to boots and sneakers. I understand that wearing someone’s used shoes is gross, but these shoes did not look worn at all. I decided to pass on buying the shoes, because I loved my scarves too much.

As I walk back to the cash register, I have a feeling that I missed something, but I have already spent too much time in here and my boyfriend less than thrilled with me.

I notice a long line at the register, and the woman who had greeted us at the door asked, “Are you buying or selling?” Confused by her question I say “buying”, she proceeds to ring me up before this line of people, then tells me that Buffalo Exchange will buy unwanted clothes, which explains the long line. She goes on to tell me that they are not a consignment shop, but are quicker than that. Anything the Buffalo Exchange does not purchase, you can take back. If they do accept the items, you have option to either sell or trade.

In that moment, this place had gotten better and better, not only do they sell a great assortment of young, hip clothes, but also they will buy your unwanted clothes. Needless to say, I will be returning to Buffalo Exchange very soon and suggest you all go check it out.

A complete outfit for $30. Photo credit Amanda Willis


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