The store’s slogan says, “Not the usual thrift store,” is right on the second-hand money.

One of my favorite parts of my trip to Colorado included a visit to a second-hand store. I couldn’t pass the opportunity to visit at least one in this “green” state. So, I chose the Buffalo Exchange in Boulder, CO, which is a chain thrift store throughout the U.S. with more than 40 locations. This store was located close to a major downtown shopping area at 1813 Pearl Street in Boulder.

Buffalo Exchange, 1813 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO


The store had many vintage selections and some high-end brands, but pricing wasn’t outrageous. Just before I came to the Buffalo Exchange, I stopped in Hip Consignment on Pearl Street. Hip Consignment had a small selection of second-hand designer clothing and accessories, but pricing was definitely for the higher-end buyer. I am an average shopper, with an average paycheck. Spending $40 for a pair of used designer heels may be a bargain for some, but for me, I’d rather spend my money somewhere else, like a dinner to P.F. Changs.

Anyways, back to the Buffalo – I would describe the atmosphere as young, hip, and eccentric. One side note was that the dressing rooms were a little odd and possibly uncomfortable. Each dressing area included a circular curtain and a mirror, however, there was nothing solid separating you from the next girl or guy. So, watch where you stick your arm or leg, or you might get exposed.

Buffalo Exchange, Boulder, CO

During most of my thrift store visits, I always tend to find “the one” – the one unique piece of clothing unlike any other, and usually unwearable. Lately, I haven’t blogged about these pieces, but I think I found one to share from the Buffalo Exchange. The dress speaks for itself, in fact, it screams Christmas Gone Wrong. At the store, I held up the dress, commented to myself quietly, and then had a lady pass by me to comment, “You know, somebody had to have donated that, but I’m sure they wore it at least once before that. I hoped they burned their pictures.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Just the right person would have to be able to pull this one off in public, it was a bargain for under $15.

The Christmas Gone Wrong Dress at Buffalo Exchange

For this visit, I found three shirts, a purse and a North Face jacket, all for a total of $89. Yes, that seems steep for five items, but I did get a North Face jacket, which cost $22 itself. Remember, this is Colorado, where Patagonia and North Face brands are changed with the seasons, making it the perfect place for people like me to find these pieces.

My overall shopping experience was very hip and happy. The store was clean, bright and open – I didn’t feel cluttered or crowded. One of the best parts of the trip happened when I said, no thank you to a bag during checkout. The store clerk said the Buffalo Exchange stores have a “tokens for bags” charity program, that for every refused plastic bag, the store donates 5 cents to a local charity. This store had three to chose from, I chose the Food Not Bombs, which donates meals to communities.

Tokens for Bags program

The first store opened in 1974 in Tucson, AZ by Kersten Block, who though the word “Buffalo” was very American and the store was meant to be an exchange store – so the name was born. To learn more about the history of Buffalo Exchange, read it here: The store operates like most second-hand stores where customers can bring in their used clothes for trade or cash, which keeps inventory fresh.

I highly recommend the Buffalo Exchange and I look forward to my next visit!


the author

Originally from Virginia, Jennifer C. Sellers is passionate about sustainability and conservation in South Carolina and throughout the world. She earned her BA in English from Coastal Carolina University and her MAS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a university sustainability coordinator that implements programs and teaches people about going green and being sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @MyGreenGlasses

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  1. NC-BFF on August 22, 2011

    You could so pull off the christmas dress 🙂 lol


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