Buffalo Exchange

My goodness! Every thrift store the Snicker has graced with her pecuniary presence here lately has sported a “now hiring” sign in the front window. It appears to be an excellent time to seek a second job among the secondhand if you’re so inclined.

The summer school hiatus is the ideal time to uncover thrifty finds along the Guadalupe – no, not the river, but that banging by-way running adjacent to UT. This street separates Austin natives from the unfashionable masses in more ways than one! It’s pronounced Guad-a-loop and the surest way to sniff out a transplant is by their insistence that it ends with “Lúpe.” But your Diva of Discount digresses, however you pronounce it, the street serves as host for the celebrated Buffalo Exchange – the secondhand fashion citadel for the college crowd.

2014 is a big year for this big store. The Austin location is celebrating its 18th birthday and the chain is marking the big 4-0! And although we missed the birthday party, it’s never too late to find quality fashions at greatly reduced prices or to sell your own gently used pieces for cash on the spot. Indeed, on her last visit one recent Saturday morning your Thriftstress noted quite a line of Buffalo gals and guys with boxes goodies to sell suggesting that the Exchange lives up to its reputation for paying a fair price for desirable pieces.

And what desirable pieces there are! The Snicker found a Standard James Perse overblouse for $20, BKE jeans for $19.50 and a Diesel skirt for $14. The Blu Pepper top was just a teensy bit overpriced at $21 but all was forgiven by the $10 pair of INC animal print flats. A high fashion ‘tween shopping with her mom got away with a terrific pair of red roper boots for just $18 and one of the many men in the Diva of Discount’s life is going to love, love, love the vintage Vans slip-ons she found for just $15. The majority of the merchandise is “upscale resale” but mixed in are a few new pieces that are clearly marked as such.

While the over-25 crowd has nothing to fear shopping at Buffalo Exchange – there really is something for everyone – the Thrifty Snicker found it easy to confuse skirts for shorts and shorts for dainty unmentionables. Overall, the merchandise, not to mention the store decor, is geared to the young and trendy with firm thighs. The hip vibe is definitely reflected in the sales staff – as tatted and pierced and they were friendly and knowledgeable.

Buffalo Exchange is as committed to men’s fashions as to women’s with nearly equal retail space devoted to each. And the store’s not too worried about in and out of season…there were a couple of large racks of winter clothes, which wins the Snicker’s approval. The true thrifter is always interested in a great find regardless of today’s temps.

Your Bargain Blogger enjoyed a pleasant visit with Cat, the store’s Chief Buffalo, who’s been with the company for more than three years. And it is a company with 46 stores – five of which are in the great state of Texas. Buffalo Exchange knows its core customer and therefore can usually be found around a college campus. But given its reputation, the Austin Exchange is actually a tourist destination of sorts for many who don’t enjoy the luxury of a local store. Somehow your Thriftstress doesn’t see a BE opening up around Llano Junior College. Cat shared the store’s commitment to evolving right along with fashions and even reported that one of the day’s takes was a peacock feathered capelet. Now wouldn’t that make a statement the next time you stroll down Rainey Street!

If you want to take a stroll through the Austin Buffalo Exchange you can indulge yourself Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. They don’t take American Express, Bitcoins or colored beads, but they do take everything else including the clothes you’re selling. Selling clothes for store credit instead of cash actually gives you a better deal. Parking is a little tight, even more so when school’s in session, but if you can’t find a spot in front of the store at 2904 Guadalupe, you’ll likely be able to park on a nearby side street. Of course you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram, which will certainly give you the head’s up on the Welcome Back event in late August.

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?  

Until the next find!

The Thrifty Snicker





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