The Scrap Exchange, a Durham institution for arts and crafts buffs, opened its newest outlet Thursday — The Scrap Exchange Thrift store.
Don’t worry, though, you can still get your tubs of overruns and leftover reams of fabric from the old store. But now, with the thrift store located across the parking lot open, you can get smaller batches of those materials along with the usual thrift store offerings of excess home goods, toys, tools and clothes.
When the store opened its doors for the first time Thursday, there was quite a crowd of bargain hunters ready to rummage through the aisles, bins and racks. It didn’t take long for shoppers to fill their carts with second-hand goods ready for a new life in another home.
One man headed to the checkout counter with a cart loaded with knickknacks, including a Durham Bulls souvenir miniature baseball bat.
In another part of the store, two ladies unrolled fabric on a table to get a better look at the pattern. They decided the fabric was a keeper and tossed it in their cart after rolling it back up.
Durham resident Lynn Hasty, who was shopping before heading to work, was loading up on housewares. In her cart, she had a Santa Claus statue, a red leather tote bag and many other items.
“I’ve been a shopper at the old store for years,” Hasty said. “I took my children there and I’m just excited that they’ve opened a thrift store. It will be one of my favorites, I’m sure.
“This is a different selection from what they have in their regular store. They have a lot of vintage things and there are a lot of things that might otherwise end up in the landfill. This is more like a regular thrift store with clothing and home goods. I love it.”
The Scrap Exchange executive director Ann Woodward said opening the thrift store was the next step for the nonprofit to expand its mission.
“It’s an evolution,” Woodward said. “The thrift store is another tool for us to supporting our mission of promoting environmental awareness to reuse and recycle. A lot of the donated material the organization returns to the community through its arts education program.”
The Scrap Exchange moved into its current location in 2014 after a series of moves. They were forced out of their longtime home at the Liberty Warehouse in 2011 when storm damage caused part of the building’s roof to collapse. Then there were a couple of more stops before finding their current home in the Shoppes at Lakewood shopping center off Chapel Hill Road.
Woodward said she envisions a Reuse Arts District anchored by The Scrap Exchange and its growing real estate portfolio. The organization purchased its first building in the shopping center which housed the defunct Centre Theatre, in 2014 and recently obtained space in the main complex. That’s where the thrift store is.
“We’re going to develop this campus into a never-seen-before Reuse Arts District,” Woodward said. “This is sort of a bigger evolution what it is that we’re thinking about.”