This past Saturday, Scout: Dry Goods & Trade finally opened its doors where the tumultuous Buffalo Exchange once thrived. The anticipation for its grand opening was a pivotal one due to a desire to revive the Buffalo Exchange’s previous pledge to sustainable fashion. Like its flagship Omaha store, Scout seeks to continue its commitment to keeping somewhere between 80 billion and 150 billion garments in circulation each year.
Local residents came out that day for the opening day festivities – many waiting patiently in-line and outside beforehand. The space boasts a funky and colorful feel where all are welcome. You can even find reused and decorative pieces — like plane wings for dressing rooms — heralding right from its Omaha location.“We’ve been able to open this store on a shoestring budget just from being resourceful and not buying new when possible,” Scout: Dry Goods & Trade founder Kelly Valentine shared.
The revival and continuation of a commitment to sustainability in Denver is incredibly important to Valentine. “I think it’s vital,” she said while explaining the urgency of climate change being subtly overlooked in 2020. “It doesn’t mean it’s gone, it doesn’t mean it’s fixed or solved. It’s still here, it’s still wreaking havoc. Our earth is in danger.”
Despite the 5,000 square foot storefront’s turbulent past, Scout’s grand opening couldn’t be anymore serendipitous. After all, Valentine actually conjured the inspiration for Scout: Dry Goods & Trade as a mere college student in Denver who was a regular at the Buffalo Exchange. Now, 13 years later, the very place she founded Scout’s homage has now become its second home.
“This isn’t about me. I see it as much bigger than just me, this location or my brand. This is really a way we’re keeping significant amounts of items out of landfills, in circulation and actively creating a difference in the fashion industry [by] educating people that it’s acceptable to reuse and rewear clothes,” Valentine said.
She explained that the most important aspect really isn’t the product, clothes or even fashion, but is simply the employees that are working in the store right now and fostering a community. “If the employees don’t feel comfortable [or] if the customers don’t feel comfortable, then there’s no Scout,” she said.
When it comes to cultivating Scout traditions on Broadway, Valentine can’t wait to bring the popular 1$ sale from Omaha to Denver. The event consists of thousands of new and unsellable items from customers that are collected throughout the week. Whatever doesn’t end up selling goes to a non-profit on Mondays and then repeats the cycle the next week. Customers can sign up to sell via Scout’s website or Instagram. The business is currently booked until mid-January but more appointments may be added in the meantime.
Unlike the Buffalo Exchange, Scout also plans on venturing into the online world by expanding the business through sales on ilovescout.com and Depop, all while reducing paper waste. Valentine also noted that one of the most significant changes Scout has implemented is an anonymous HR line for any employee or customer concerns.
“I know that there are a lot of eyes on us and what we’re going to do [to] make sure we do things right by our employees and customers, and that’s fine. I’m ready to earn that trust.”
Scout: Dry Goods & Trade Denver is located on 51 Broadway, Denver.
All Photography by Adrienne Thomas