Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work: Shop-Local Destination Since 1935

Each time an independent business on Greenwich Ave or its environs succumbs to the pull of the chain store, Greenwich heaves a collective sigh.

But while house after historic house in Greenwich falls prey to the wrecking ball, the charming house at 28 Sherwood Place, built in 1900, takes on increasing significance as it stands defiantly, frozen in time.

Image

28 Sherwood Place, home to the Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work.

While many Greenwich residents speed along Sherwood Place, a shortcut connecting Putnam Ave to Northfields and points north, the charming house that is home to the Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work may feel like part if the furniture — invisible until it’s gone.

Over the years, the Exchange, where 200+ artisan-consignors receive 67% of the selling price for their wares, survives primarily through word-of-mouth. And it helps that the building is owned outright by the non-profit it houses.

The Exchange is a reliable resource for thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gifts, while providing a retail venue for vendors who consign their crafts and wares. Modestly priced, the handmade gifts defy the imagination, filling room after room with options displayed attractively and without clutter.

“I head there any time I need a present. Whether it’s a baby gift, a housewarming gift, birthday present…whatever,” said Susan Franco of Glenville, who was recently at the Exchange to buy Valentine’s Day items. “It’s on my way home from the YWCA but I’ll make a special trip if I need a gift and want a variety of options.”

While consignors receive 67% of the selling price,  the remaining 33% is used for operating expenses and local charitable contributions. The Exchange is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors, who also volunteer alongside  staff year-round and at the non-profit’s annual Christmas Fair at the Round Hill Club in November.

A Piece of History
Incorporated in 1901 the Greenwich Exchange became a charter member of the Federation of Woman’s Exchanges in 1936. Launched at a time when women were largely excluded from the workplace and providing “a shop where ‘genteel poor’ women could earn money by consigning their home-made, hand-crafted items,” the Greenwich Exchange perseveres while others have closed.

montage

Top left: Advertisement in the “Women’s Exchange Revue” for an “eye-catching” paisley print dress available in pink, brown or aqua for $8.95 from Chancy D’Elia
Top right: Undated photo of theGreenwich Exchange for Women’s Work at 28 Sherwood Pl
Board of Directors Meeting Notes dated Oct. 19th 1923.

Defying changing economic forces and the array of 21st century opportunities for women in the workforce, the Exchange may have come full circle.  While staying true to its roots, the operation offers patrons a way to shop local and support small businesses.

Image

Colorful women’s tunics brighten up a February afternoon at the Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work.

Image

Upstairs in the “Linens Room” a wide array of gift options include hand sewn and embroidered nightgowns made by women in Haiti, scented sachets, totes, place mats and tablecloths.

Image

Drawer after drawer of handmade baby bibs on the first floor inside the Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work.

Image

Among the finger puppets are GHS Cardinals items in the foyer of the Exchange, 28 Sherwood Place in Greenwich.

Image

Packages of blank note cards from local artist André Lanoux include monograms in custom colors. The shop keeps an order form for Lanoux’s custom cards.

Image

Handmade American Girl doll clothes at The Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work.

Image

Handknit baby hats at The Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work.

Image

Baby bibs in attractive patterns with piping and trim.

Image

A wide variety of baby gifts and toys — all handmade.

Image

Room after room of handcrafted items, all displayed attractively, with minimal clutter at the Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work.

Image

The Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work is located at 28 Sherwood Place in Greenwich.

The Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work, 28 Sherwood Place in Greenwich.
Like the Exchange on Facebook.
Hours: M-F 10:00-4:00 and Sat 10:00-1:00
Tel. 203-869-0229
___________________________________

Image

Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
Like us on Facebook

Twitter

Subscribe to the daily Greenwich Free Press newsletter.

  • Elaine G.

    This article has comes at a perfect time for me. Whimsies my favorite independent store in Tarrytown NY is closing it’s doors after 25 years of business. The owner sent out a letter explaining that over the years it has gotten more and more difficult to run a business in a world where you can shop 24/7 on the internet. My problem with that is the internet does not lovingly choose special had made pieces from artists all over the country. I have been buying almost all of my gifts there for at least fifteen years, and was heartbroken when I got the message that the store would be closing. But now I can go to the Greenwich Exchange for Women’s Work! I believe it is very important to shop locally and at independents stores to help keep the American Dream Alive. It is very encouraging to see that an independent business can thrive in Greenwich.