McShane's Exchange’s story started in 1988 when owner, Denise McShane founded the Chicago consignment staple.
My story with McShane’s Exchange started in 1998, when we were first introduced by my mother. She loved shopping at McShane’s, the thrill of finding items within her budget always made her happy. While my mom shopped, Denise would sit with my younger brother and I, gifting us mints and candy canes.
In 2007, I attended Lincoln Park High School, located down the street from McShane’s, and that is when I got my very first job working as a sales associate for Denise McShane.
Eventually, I went away to college at Bradley University. After graduation, I did my fair share of time in the corporate world. The pandemic hit in 2020 and I lost my job working at The University of Illinois Chicago in graduate admissions, while simultaneously finishing a master’s degree. I was at a loss thinking to myself “what am I going to do now? I am an unemployed single mother.”
I decided I was going to grow my blogging career. I’ve always had a love for writing, and I was passionate about various industries that I knew I could blog about; but I needed a new wardrobe for social media content. I thought I would come back to my old trustee, McShane’s Exchange, to vamp up my closet to provide blog content.
And just like that, I was about to walk into McShane’s-- nearly 22 years from when I first met the store. The front windows had “store closing” signs, my heart sunk – McShane’s held such a special place in my heart. That’s when it occurred to me, “I should buy it.”
Less than a week later the lease and ownership were signed under my name. Since that very moment, I have put my everything into this business. Everything from late nights giving the store a face lift, meeting new consigners, pricing items, learning how to operate all aspects of a business during a pandemic, and learning how to navigate the retail industry as a Latina female business owner.
7-year-old, candy cane-loving Alejandra, would have never imagined owning McShane’s Exchange one day. I can whole heartedly say I love what I do. I am overjoyed and so thankful to my consigners and customers that have supported me along the way.
Despite going through a lot of changes these past two years including a pandemic, industry changes, renovations, and a whole lot more, let me be the first to tell you…we are just getting started, so stay tuned…