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Buffalo Exchange forges a community closet

Rather than trading with friends or siblings, students can now exchange clothing with the whole city of Columbus.

Buffalo Exchange is a clothing company that recycles fashion by reselling clothes bought from customers to be traded or sold to others — and now it has come to Clintonville at 2643 N. High St.

“There are really so many clothes produced,” said Columbus-area manager Anna Weldon.“It’s really wonderful to know that you can make yourself look good and feel good while doing something good for the environment.”

While Buffalo Exchange is relatively new to Clintonville — having opened in early December — the company started in 1974 and has spread to 49 locations in 20 states over the years. Weldon worked in the Texas, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. locations prior to coming to Columbus.

“I think the biggest difference (between us and other companies) is that we hand-select — we curate our inventory from our customers, so there’s a community feel,” Weldon said.

While the community feel may be the same, marketing director Stephanie Lew said the individualized fashion sense in every city creates an inventory of clothing that varies from location to location.

“Every Buffalo Exchange is unique because it takes its own fashion from the community,” Lew said. “So whatever is there was collected from the neighborhood. Each Buffalo you go to will be different.”

Lew said many customers travel to various Buffalo Exchange locations, from New York to Arizona, to see the vastly different fashion represented in each store.

Weldon said the ability of the store to cater to different demographics, depending on the location, is one of her favorite aspects.

“If you’re selling clothes to buy clothes it’s like your own walk-in closet,” Weldon said. “I like to think of it as we are Christmas shopping for literally everyone.”

Buffalo Exchange is currently holding a charity event called Coats for Cubs, taking place until April 22. For the event, customers donate fur coats to be sent to animal rehabilitation centers where they will be made into blankets for abandoned animals.

“Our Coats for Cubs drive helps give furs back to the animals,” Buffalo Exchange vice president Rebecca Block said in a press release. “Many people inherit fur coats or simply change their mind about wearing fur. This program gives those people the option to repurpose their furs for the well-being of wildlife.”

Lew said that coats are shipped to 37 to 40 rehabilitation centers nationwide each year, depending on the urgency.

Last year, Lew said that the company collected 1,178 coats for donation.

Another charity event coming up for Buffalo Exchange is the Earth Day dollar sale on April 18. During this event, select items in the store will be $1 with all proceeds going to A Fund For Animals, a charity affiliate with The Humane Society.

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