Shoppers can hand over old clothes, not cash, for designer brands at new Davis Sq. store

Davis Square is undeniably the one-stop shopping locale for Tufts students, and when there’s a need to splurge on something unnecessary without breaking the bank, the numerous thrift, consignment and vintage fashion stores in the area certainly come in handy. Tufts students are not the only ones who have picked up on the square’s success, though, which is why Buffalo Exchange decided to join the neighborhood and opened up a new store on Elm Street last month.The store is most aptly characterized as a chain thrift store. It started in Tucson, Arizona and has spread across the country, mainly clustering in West Coast locations but slowly branching out through the South, Midwest and East Coast states as well. The chain’s most recent opening in Davis Square has seemed to continue its success, bringing in a host of students and Somerville residents to sell and shop there.Maggi Windsor, Buffalo Exchange’s Boston manager, explained that the chain sets itself apart from other nearby thrift stores by purchasing clothing, shoes and accessories from customers directly, right as they bring in their unwanted goods. Many other thrift stores and consignment shops either accept donations only or pay people only once their clothing has been sold.”There’s nothing around here like [Buffalo Exchange], where we actually give you cash that day. We buy it straight out,” Windsor said. “You don’t have to wait for your clothes to sell.”All clothing brought into the store is appraised by a store employee, at which point the seller has the option of either receiving 30 percent of the offered price in cash or 50 percent in store credit. All items must be in good conditionThe new store occupies the old Hollywood Express lot, quite a large space compared to some of the cramped stores around Davis. With two floors, there is a substantial enough space for women’s clothing and shoes, as well as a small section on the ground floor dedicated to menswear.Upon walking into Buffalo Exchange, there is a massive amount of clothing hung and piled onto the racks, which only continues downstairs. The store has something for everyone, as long as customers are willing to dig a little to find the perfect item.And it’s no mystery as to how the store amasses its large collection.”We’re always buying clothes. There’s never a time in the day when we’re not buying clothes,” Windsor said.This constant influx of goods not only means that there is a great variety of styles for customers, but also that items are sold for quite a bit lower than the retail price.Within the thrift store community, however, Buffalo Exchange’s move to Davis Square has caused a bit of an uproar. The corporation thrift store, which earned over $3 million in 2006, has certainly upped the competition amongst local businesses such as Poor Little Rich Girl and Artifaktori. The Goodwill Store of Somerville, known for its cheaply priced items, is also located only a few doors down the street.Still, there are subtle differences between all of these stores that might alleviate worries. Artifaktori deals predominantly in vintage and retro items, while Goodwill accepts donations without the payoff (or the selectivity) of Buffalo Exchange.Poor Little Rich Girl, however, does pay people who want to sell their goods, but on a consignment basis. While the consignors working with Poor Little Rich Girl only receive payment upon the sale of their items, they receive 40 percent of the selling price in cash.Meredith Byam, the owner of Poor Little Rich Girl, was a little wary when Buffalo Exchange first opened almost directly across the street, but she took a positive stance when asked about it.”People who do not know of Poor Little Rich Girl but know the Buffalo Exchange name will travel to Davis and discover my store,” Byam said. “People who like to spend the afternoon vintage or secondhand shopping will be more apt to go to Davis knowing that they can hit up more than one or two stores at once.”Byam added that she believed the two stores have a different clientele, especially after having built up a solid standing with residents of Boston and its suburbs since opening in 2002. She also mentioned that Poor Little Rich Girl has won the Boston Magazine “Best of Boston: Consignment” award two years in a row and is soon opening a second branch in Cambridge due to success and high demand.The fact remains that Davis Square continues to grow in popularity and add stores that cater to a younger crowd. Byam insisted that Davis Square is the place to be for her consignment store and any other business looking for students.”I chose Davis Square because I lived right down the street and I loved the square! I thought it was a lovely vibrant neighborhood that really appreciates and supports local business,” she said.


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