I arrived at UrbanXchange on a breezy Tuesday afternoon excited to interview the owner in order to learn the history of this Tacoma hotspot. As I took in my surroundings I noticed that the store exudes an atmosphere of originality with its fashionable employees, charming interior décor and edgy clothing items and accessories. The store is located at 1932 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA, 98402, just a brisk walk down the steps near the Harmon Restaurant and Indochine Dining Lounge. The back of the store contains a quaint tea room called Tahoma Tea & Co. I spotted Julie Bennett behind the counter working on the design of the menu board. She joined me at my table, and a friendly barista serves us, and we begin our conversation about UrbanXchange, the groundbreaking buy/sell/trade clothing store right here on campus.
It all started in 2005 as Julie Bennett noticed a demand for buy/sell/trade clothing stores. “At the time I opened UrbanXchange there were no buy/sell/trades in Tacoma. I would frequently meet people and had friends who did shop like that willing to make the commute to Seattle for buy/sell/trades. I knew there would be a market for it here in Tacoma.” Soon thereafter, Bennett staged a buying party in which the public brought in clothes to sell for the store’s first inventory. After a successful open house weekend, UrbanXchange officially opened its doors on July 30th, 2005.
So what makes UrbanXchange different from clothing stores or other buy/sell/trades? “UrbanXchange is less about mass trends and more about creating unique looks,” Julie explains. UrbanXchange customers have their own unique looks that they create themselves. When a trend arises in Tacoma, it is such a small community that everybody influences each other. UrbanXchange helps to create something through that synergy that compels style here in Tacoma.
UrbanXchange differs greatly from other buy/sell/trades like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange because they have more of a distinct, refined, and unique brand rather than cookie cutter looks that are sold at commercial stores. UrbanXchange is mostly a fashion store that is more geared toward fashion forward resale items.
You could say that owning and being a part of UrbanXchange has changed Julie Bennett’s life. “It marked a complete transition for me by creating something that is my own.” For Julie, it is a place where she wants to be at, surrounded by people with like minded ideals. It is a place of music, creativity, community, sustainability, and the arts. This is the first time in her life where she felt a part of a community, a community of diverse people who really want to talk to one another.
UrbanXchange is having what they call their “Bananaversary” event to celebrate seven years in business this July.