Meet Our Members – Woman’s Exchange Inc. of Sarasota

Woman's Exchange color logo

Give us a brief history of your business/organization.

Incorporated in 1962, the Woman’s Exchange was established by four philanthropic women who were looking for a business way of supporting the arts. Their primary objective was to develop a sustainable business model that wouldn’t require them to solicit their friends and neighbors for funds to support its mission.

What are your business/organization’s core values, goals, and overall mission?

Mission: The Woman’s Exchange Inc. of Sarasota is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to financially supporting local arts and cultural organizations, as well as, students pursuing a higher education in the arts. Funds for this purpose are realized through the Exchange’s consignment operation. Grants and Scholarships derived from the earnings of this store are used to enrich and strengthen arts-related programs and to encourage creativity in organizations and individuals throughout the community

Vision: To touch the heart and stimulate the creative mind of every adult and child in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, through its financial support of a large and artistically diverse group of organizations, as well as students who aspire to be the world’s next generation of cultural influence.

How long have you been in business in the Greater Sarasota Community?

54 years

In a nutshell, what does your business/organization provide its customers/clients?

SHOPPERS:
Shoppers can expect to find a large selection of affordably priced treasures such as Baccarat crystal, Tiffany silver, Gucci, Prada, Chicos, 14k-22k gold jewelry, high-end furniture, handmade Persian rugs and regular household items. Due to a high volume of sales, merchandise is continuously changing, making it a unique shopping experience each and every time you enter the store. The Exchange sells an average of 12,000 items every month.

CONSIGNORS:
Not only does the Woman’s Exchange pay its consignors the highest commission rate in town, 65% of the sale price, but due to high volume sales, consignors can expect to sell their merchandise in a very short period of time. Last year alone, the Woman’s Exchange paid its consignors $2.1 million dollars.

RECIPIENTS OF THE MONEY EARNED:
For more than a half century, local arts and cultural organization have come to depend on the Woman’s Exchange for much needed financial support. The Woman’s Exchange is consistent in its giving even when others are cutting back due to tough economic times.

Complete this sentence: “When a customer/client walks into my business/office, they can expect…”

to see all new, affordably priced merchandise, most of which is unique to the Woman’s Exchange.

What makes your business/organization unique?

The fact that we accept consignments from roughly 600 different consignors each and every week, enabling us to keep merchandise fresh and interesting.

The Woman’s Exchange conducts no fundraising but instead earns all of the money awarded each year during the organizations grant and scholarship program.

What benefit(s) attracted you to the The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce?

The fact that the chamber, through it’s programs introduces the Woman’s Exchange to new residents moving into the area.

Is your company/organization involved in any community/civic activities?

YES, OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS…

• The Woman’s Exchange donated $766,800 in grants and scholarships benefiting local arts and cultural organizations, their patrons, employees and many local school age students who were able to attend a performance or participated in one of the many programs offered.

• More than $6.2 million was paid to WEX consignors “cost of goods sold” further benefiting the local community. A large number of Woman’s Exchange consignors use the money earned to help supplement their Social Security.

• $108,208 in household items and clothing were donated to a number of local philanthropic organizations.

• Many of the local non-profit organizations in town have a consignment accounts with the Woman’s Exchange enabling their patrons to bring in items to be consigned under their name. When the items sell, the non-profit organizations receives the money earned.
Here is a small sample of organizations that participated in this program: Perlman Suncoast, YMCA Premium Liquidators, Riverview High School, USF Sarasota Manatee Campus, Senior Moves, Temple Beth Shalom Judaica Shop, Temple Emanuel Of Sarasota Inc., Asolo Theatre Inc., Cancer Support Community Florida, St Margaret’s, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Junior League, Friends of Fruitville Library, Cat Depot, Art Center Manatee, Friends Of Wildlife Inc., Lighthouse of Manasota, Boy Scout Troop 180#, Sertoma Kids Inc.

2015 GRANT AND SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Grants AWARDED: Anna Maria Isl. Concert Chorus & Orchestra, Arts and Culture Alliance, Asolo Theatre, Inc., Banyan Theater Company, Coexistence, Inc., Exsultate, Florida Studio Theatre, Fuzion Dance Artists, Inc., Gloria Musicae, Hermitage Artist Retreat, La Musica di Aslo, Perlman Music Program, Players Theatre, The John and Mable Ringling Museum & Art Foundation, Sarasota Film Festival, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra (FL Westcoast Orch), Sarasota Pops, Selby Gardens, Urbanite Theatre, Van Wezel Foundation, Inc., Venice Symphony, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Scholarships AWARDED: Amber Cross, Anthony DeNiro, Alyssa Dinka, Matthew Falgowski, Abbey-Michelle Graham, Elizabeth Granowicz, Hannah Gregory, Victoria Miller, Doulas Ortner, Rachel Querreveld, Casey Rich, Claudia Rightmire, Jonathan Sams, Haley Simmons, Jillian Smith, Alina Timshina, Anna Jane, Trinci, Reed Tucker, Christine Wozniak, Sydine Battie, Linnet Berna, Marie Dull, Zoe Ezechiels, Joshua Galindo, Anneliese Hardman, Luis Javier, David Klos, Rachel Maul, Shelby Walk

Where do you see your organization in five years?

I see the Woman’s Exchange in the position of being able to award a minimum of $500,000 annually in grants and scholarships.

What are three things your business/organization can’t live without?
Volunteers
Shoppers / Consignors
Vision

For more information about the Woman’s Exchange Inc. of Sarasota, visit their website and like them on Facebook.

Your business or organization could be featured in The Chamber Buzz. “Meet Our Members” is a member spotlight feature on The Chamber Buzz blog and e-newsletter, showcasing our member businesses, their products and services. To be considered for the spotlight, simply complete this form.

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