CONFIDENCE, NOT CLOTHING, IS THE COMMODITY AT THE MEN’S XCHANGE DOWNTOWN
On a Mission
Downtown Colorado Springs welcomes the Men’s Xchange, a social enterprise that offers high-quality professional men’s attire at low cost. As a social enterprise, the Men’s Xchange balances the mission of the organization with a market-driven approach that drives sustainable revenue to help support programmatic goals. The mission: to help men become better men. Better men for their significant others and better men for this community.
Stop in and the first thing you will notice is that this is not a thrift store experience. You’ll find tailored suits, crisp slacks, dress shirts in every color, handmade pocket scarves and shiny new dress shoes, all under $40. But if you talk to Founder and Chief Ethos Officer, James Proby, he isn’t selling clothing, he is selling confidence.
Filling the gap
Handmade pocket squares
Many are familiar with Dress for Success and The Women’s Resource Agency, organizations that provide resources to equip women entering the workforce at low to no cost. Until now, no such assistance was available for men. As part of a larger network of supportive services, The Men’s Xchange fills a gap for men in our community by removing a barrier to entry that many times holds job-seekers back – the lack of proper business attire and interview-ready clothing.
“We are happy to partner with Men’s Xchange to help serve our customers who are looking for jobs or careers,” said Becca Tonn, Communications Manager with the Pikes Peak Workforce Center. “The Men’s Xchange offers a much-needed, affordable resource for professional clothing in this community—and we are fortunate to have them in the Springs,” Tonn continued.
Raising Others Up
Photo courtesy The Men’s Xchange Facebook
The store is open to the public and extends a special welcome to certain kind of man: the man that lost has his job and hasn’t been able to provide for his family, the man that is recovering from addiction trying to find his way back into the community and the workforce, the homeless man that just wants someone to look him in the eye. “We want to empower men to be part of their community, to be men of integrity, men of their word,” states Proby.
Proby says that although he learns something new and worthwhile every single day, the best piece of advice he has ever received (and now passes on) is that falling down is not a failure, as long as you learn from the experience and get back to work.
From Recipient to Donor
Not long ago, a man came into the store – homeless, hurting, head hung low. He needed clothing for a job interview. What he received was a full boutique experience, complete with a custom fitting and personal stylist. The man left, head held high. Proby says that what he offers to men is not only a stylish suit but a strong presentation. “The way a man presents in an interview, how he presents himself walking down the street with his children, on a date. Presentation is powerful,” says Proby.
Fast forward one week. The gentleman received not one, but two job offers and accepted both. Still homeless, he returned to The Men’s Xchange to pay it forward. He donated the dress slacks that had helped him secure his jobs back to the store so that another man might be able to use them. Though financially insecure, the man had even paid to dry clean the pants before returning them. (Dry cleaning prior to donating is not necessary.)
The Men’s Xchange originally opened in a location off of Templeton Gap Road in July 2017, but moving Downtown has always been the goal, says Proby. “Downtown is the central nervous system of our city. We want to be connected to the people that we serve as well as our nonprofit partners.” He stated, “Selfishly, I am most excited about collaborating with thought leaders and the community-drivers in our community; many of them are Downtown.”
Shop local, it matters
Proby is also passionate about keeping local dollars in the local economy. “When you choose to shop online or at a big box store, you are sending money away from your local community, money that could go to funding road improvements, additional police officers, improvements to our children’s schools. I don’t think people make that connection. I am happy to pay my taxes because I know the funds are being re-invested in my community.” Over 90% of businesses Downtown are locally owned, and Downtown generates 11 times more sales tax revenue per square mile than other parts of the city – so the impact is significant.
“Your dollars have impact. Your vote has impact. This is how you invest in your community; this is how you make a difference.”
Location: 409 N. Tejon (Next to EpiCentral and The Wild Goose Meeting House)
Shop & Donate: Tues. – Fri. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.