Scrap Exchange counts down for opening in new space

Aug. 11, 2014 @ 05:09 PM

Ann Woodward points to an alley that cuts into The Scrap Exchange’s new space in Lakewood Shopping Center. A shipping room with a metal door sits at the end of the alley, and eventually Woodward would like to have a welding shop in the shipping area, with displays of metal work in the alley. She also envisions a place for sculptors, community gardens and an exercise area.
“We’re going to have some fun over here,” Woodward, executive director of the creative re-use center, said Monday, the first day of a weeklong move-in to the new space. The Scrap Exchange’s current location at 923 Franklin St. is closed this week to allow for the move (volunteers are welcome). The center will reopen in Lakewood on Saturday morning at 10. (The store’s new hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.)
The first set of shelves went up Monday, and employees and volunteers were moving in bolts of fabric and other recovered goods for sale.
The Scrap Exchange has renovated the first floor of the two-story building (the former Duke Surplus Store). The 23,000-square-foot space has new paint, new sealer on the concrete floors and new lights. The heating and air-conditioning system also has been repaired. An architect helped them to lay out the space to accommodate the areas familiar to Scrap Exchange customers – the Green Gallery, a design center, and a larger make-and-take area where visitors can make something with the items The Scrap Exchange sells. For the Mongo room, the floors have been covered with maps from National Geographic and various atlases (re-used from the store’s stock) and sealed with polyurethane. Other rooms also have the map design, and one is hand-painted to resemble wood grain.
The Scrap Exchange collects goods from businesses and individuals – materials that otherwise might be thrown in a landfill – and sells them at low cost. In 2013, the organization kept 70 tons of materials from going into the landfill, according to its website. Items include fabric, paper, vinyl records and compact discs, wood, flagstones, glass and many other items.
The Scrap Exchange purchased the new building in December last year for $840,000. Founded in 1991, the non-profit organization was previously in Liberty Warehouse in Durham Central Park before a partial roof collapse forced it and other tenants out of the building. The Scrap Exchange then moved to the Cordoba Center for the Arts on Franklin Street.
Even before the roof collapse, the board of The Scrap Exchange began making plans for a permanent home. When the move was announced this summer, Margaret McNab, president of the board, said ownership of the space will allow the organization to have more control over its space and make it a home.
Finding a permanent space has been “a long haul,” Woodward said, who pointed out that the organization has spent 15 of the past 23 years dealing with space issues. She calls the new building “a fortress. We have really landed in a really great, solid building.”