Business Close Up: Denim and Leather Exchange
Looking for high quality used clothing? Look no further than Leather and Denim Exchange. Located in the Brown Street Mall, the shop is full of leather, denim, and much more. Rhinelander native Mary Jo Swearingen opened the business more than five years ago, and runs the store with her mother.
“I’ve always liked resale shops,” said Swearingen. “Everyone says you should enjoy what you do, and I really do enjoy this.” Not only does she enjoy selling clothing and accessories, but because she grew up in Rhinelander, has been able to renew acquaintances and meet children and grandchildren of people she knew growing up. “And if I find out someone is vacationing here, I like to point out places I think they should visit, or restaurants they may like to try. I enjoy promoting the area.”
Mary Jo started selling denim and leather in her original location next to McDonald’s Stevens Street because that’s what she had at home. The stock quickly expanded to shoes, boots, jewelry, handbags and clothing. Six months after opening Mary Jo relocated Denim and Leather Exchange to the Brown Street Mall. “This is a really good location, close to the coffee shop, and people walking downtown. We get a good deal of traffic,” she said, adding, “My bike leather sells very well. New Harley riders need leather boots, gloves, jackets to get started and this is a great place to look first.”
Mary Jo says she is particular about the items she agrees to sell on consignment. “I limit my stock to high end brand names, and higher quality clothing, like Miss Me and Silver jeans, Karen Kane, Levi, and Harley.” This allows her shoppers to come in knowing they can quickly look through her stock to find what they are looking for.
“I have regulars who come in weekly to see what’s new. Plus shoppers know they will get a good deal on name brand clothing, because I like to pass on a good deal.” In a nutshell, Swearingen says she sells jeans and whatever is worn with jeans, all casual items, all perfect additions to a casual holiday wardrobe without breaking the budget.
Denim and Leather Exchange is open 715-369-9333.through Saturdays, plus extended hours for the holidays. Brown Street Mall is located at 34 S. Brown Street downtown Rhinelander; the phone number is