PHOTOS: In business at Upshift Swap Shop | Business

Located at 836 E. Johnson St. in Madison, Upshift Swap Shop looks at first glance like any other thrift or consignment store: 500 square feet filled with racks of tops, skirts and pants for people of all genders.

But here, most items don’t have price tags. That’s because the nine-year-old store’s fundamental premise is to trade, not buy, though owner Lindsay Leno also recently added a buy option.

Shoppers can bring a bag of gently used clothing, pay $20, and then fill that bag with the secondhand clothing of their choice. Other options include filling a bag, without trading, for $30 or buying items individually for $2 to $10.

For Leno, sharing is a way of life., a model that she believes offers fresh style with less waste.

“I really think this sharing system, if it were to become a mainstream form of retail, would completely change where consumerism is going,” Leno said. “You could still have a closet full of clothes, but without harming the environment.”

An illuminated sign hangs above the sofa in the Upshift Swap Shop.

Upshift IYB 072022 01-07222022112654

Lindsay Leno, owner of Upshift Swap Shop, describes herself as a “walking advertisement” for the swap. “Everything I wear is from here, and I pride myself on dressing well,” Leno said. “I really believe that if you have things stored in your closet, it will go to a good home within your community.”

Upshift IYB 072022 05-07222022112654

Outfit-matching suggestions are posted behind clothing racks at Upshift, a thrift store located at 836 E. Johnson St. in Madison.

Upshift IYB 072022 02-07222022112654

Second-hand shoes are on display near the Upshift entrance.

Upshift IYB 072022 09-07222022112654

Upshift intern Emily Bender hangs clothes on a rack at the Johnson Street clothing store. Bender is a fashion merchandising student at Madison College.

Upshift IYB 072022 07-07222022113425

The plywood mural once used to secure Upshift’s windows after an SUV entered the building now decorates the walls of the fitting rooms. The mural was painted by local artist Steph Hagens.

Share your thoughts on this topic by sending a letter to the editor at Include your full name, hometown, and phone number. Your name and city will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Leave a Comment