Show Pony fills vintage clothing void left by Buffalo Exchange

Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).

When the Buffalo Exchange vintage clothing retailer shuttered its three stores in Denver and Boulder in July 2020, it left a big void for shoppers — and a bad taste in their mouths.

Store workers had leveled dozens of anonymous allegations of employee abuse against the Tucson, Ariz.-based retailer’s local franchisee, which led to an investigation by Denver police — and then a lawsuit, which was settled out of court last fall, according to court records.

After the closures, the stores’ employees were left jobless during the pandemic, and many thrift shoppers (like me) were left wondering where we would find our vintage gems. But last year, a new store filled the void, hoping to create a new hub for vintage vendors.

Show Pony Vintage, 2025 S. University Blvd. in Denver, opened in January 2022. The colorful, retro store is a collective of vintage and secondhand clothing, jewelry, accessories and home goods from 15 local vendors, who rent out racks monthly and pay commissions to the store.

Incidentally, “vintage” is defined as anything from 2003 and before, according to Show Pony owner, Emily Hawver. (No, we’re not trying to make you feel old.)

“Everything the vendors bring in, they curate, price and find themselves, and it’s kind of to their style and liking versus just one person curating the whole shop,” Hawver said. “I think that always makes for a much better shopping experience because there are always different styles, pricing and sizing. There’s something for everybody.”

The vendors, some of whom even worked at Buffalo Exchange in the past, curate the collections and also help run and restock the store every week, so it always looks new.

“It was a bummer when Buffalo Exchanges closed around town because it was a great place for a lot of people, but we’re just creating bigger and better things from the downfall of those places,” said Hawver, who was running a booth at an antique mall in Littleton before the pandemic, selling curated furniture. COVID made her rethink things, though, and she decided to take her passion for thrifting seriously.

For shoppers, Show Pony is an adventure: It takes time and effort to sift through different eras of clothing to find something that can work in your modern wardrobe, or even something that fits you perfectly. And you’re even more proud when someone asks you where you got it, and you know they can’t visit a fast-fashion website to copy it.

It’s also a place where my friends and I can spend whole Sunday afternoons, mixing and matching dad jeans from the ‘80s with vintage bomber jackets or rock n’ roll T-shirts, or searching every rack for something with Betty Boop on it. I even had a “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” moment a couple of weeks ago there when I tried on a pair of vintage Tommy Hilfiger red leather pants that somehow fit me perfectly, which of course I had to take home.

Show Pony Vintage: 2025 S. University Blvd., Denver;

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