Aug. 16, 2014 @ 05:30 PM

It’s taken a few years, but the Scrap Exchange finally has a permanent location in the city.

It’s also not the first time the Scrap Exchange had to pick up and move its vast collection. In 2011, after the roof collapsed at the Liberty Warehouse, the Scrap Exchange had to relocate to the Cordoba Center for the Arts.

But finally having a place to call its own, it has the chance to expand in ways staff members and board of directors have only dreamed.

Ruth Warren, Scrap Exchange marketing manager, said finally being in the space was an amazing accomplishment, one that came with a lot of work.

That work was moving what was at the space on Franklin Street to the Lakewood Shopping Center.

Madeline James, Scrap Exchange store manager and volunteer coordinator, said more than 100 people helped work over the past week to get the building ready.

“There were some longer than 12-hour days,” she said. “But the thing that has been really great, is the community that has come together (to help).”

Not only did staff members at the Scrap Exchange help the move, but board members and community members came out to get the 23,000-square-foot space ready for customers. Duke Project Build also helped supply elbow grease. All in all, over 100 people helped transform the old Duke Surplus Store.

“It has made my heart so full to come in here at 8 o’clock at night these days we’ve been closed and see all of the people, just getting it done,” James said.

With a new space, comes a new focus for the Scrap Exchange.

“The focus is going to be on more of a community space,” James said. “Sort of shifting the emphasis.”

Warren said the new location is also ripe to become a great place to go and do things.

“Will we use the acreage? Yes,” Warren said. “We’ve already increased our hours of operation.”

James said the retail portion is a big part of the Scrap Exchange, as it helps sustain the non-profit, but the community efforts are going to become more at the forefront for the Scrap Exchange.

“We do a lot of free programming … and community meet ups, but we want to have community space out in front,” she said.

There are also talks of adding basketball hoops to one of the parking lots and in the future, possibly having pop-up stores and shops.

Warren said the programming the Scrap Exchange already offers will also expand as well.

“The retail store is scaled-back,” she said. “And the make-and-take room is much larger.”

Not everything is complete though, James said. There are still materials to be moved over from the old building, and the finishing touches need to be put on the Cameron Gallery, formerly the Green Gallery.

The gallery will be open as part of the Third Friday celebration around town next month.

Warren said having this space at 2050 Chapel Hill Road now gives the Scrap Exchange some stability.

“It sets the path for other creative reuse centers across the US that this is something that can happen,” she said. “It’s a critical industry in this day and age.”

For Durham resident Julie Alvarez, the Scrap Exchange is an important part of the city for her.

Alvarez is a graphic designer and a fan of do-it-yourself projects, and often finds the perfect materials for her creations at the Scrap Exchange. On Saturday she was shopping for materials for her sister’s bridal shower and eventual wedding.

“There’s so much random stuff here,” she said. “If you can’t find a purpose for it, someone else will.”

Warren said the Scrap Exchange wants to lead by example when it comes to art installations. For its first installation one room of the building’s floor was covered in vintage maps.

“It’s just an art installation, we want to turn this entire building into example after example after example of what you can do creatively with everyday materials,”

Warren said.

A grand opening for the space will be held in October once the galleries and design centers are finished.

But until then, the Scrap Exchange will continue to be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily.

“This place is just one of those places where something cool is always going to be happening,” Warren said.