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Guide to Shopping Locally in Durham

- Author: Crystal - 7 Comments


Why shop locally?

By choosing to shop at locally-owned, independent stores rather than chain stores and large national corporations, we are directly helping to grow our local economy and enrich our community. 

More great reasons to shop locally can be found in this article: “Why I Try Really Hard to Shop Locally”. You can also read up on the local independent shopping movement in Durham at Sustainabull.

How to shop locally in Durham, North Carolina

Durhamites can consider some of these local shopping alternatives, listed by category:


  • Host a clothing swap for your friends. It’s free, and everyone gets great stuff!
  • Shop at local thrift stores whenever possible. Proceeds usually benefit the local community, and thrift shopping does not encourage production of more new products. Pennies for Change is one of my favorites!
  • Fifi’s Fine Resale, a consignment store on Main St., is amazing and delightful.
  • Check out Durham’s lovely clothing boutique culture – particularly those on 9th St., Main St and in the Brightleaf Shopping Center (Some of Crystal’s favorites are Magpie, Vert & Vogue and Vaguely Reminiscent.)



Sporting Goods


Shipping and mailing

  • A-1 Stop Mail Shoppe (9th St.) Very quirky but super friendly little place. I support these guys 100% because I get personal service and lots of friendly conversation whenever I go.

Photocopies and printing services

  • Spee Dee Que Instant Printing (E. Chapel Hill St./Foster St.) This is a very “Durham” sort of place (i.e., messy, homegrown, old school..) but they care deeply about the work they do, and there’s a Chihuahua. Also it is a thousand times better than going to Kinko’s.

Auto supplies




Hardware and building materials


  • Thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets!
  • Craigslist
  • TROSA Furniture (Foster St.) We consistently find great stuff at TROSA Furniture. They deliver too!
  • Morgan Imports (Gregson St. near Brightleaf Square)


Pet supplies

Office supplies

  • Not Just Paper on Main St. This is another one of those very “Durham” sorts of place (i.e., messy, homegrown, old school…) but they care deeply about what they do, and it’s super fun to shop here. I discover new things every time.


  • Atomic Empire (3400 Westgate Rd off 15/501) Board games, role playing games, comic books and much more. They will special order you anything you can’t find in their store.

Arts and craft supplies

Garden supplies

  • Stone Bros. on corner of Geer/Washington St. These are the friendliest people who are incredibly helpful with gardening tips! They have full service customer service, including the standard practice of carrying/wheeling all your purchases out to your car for you.
  • Barnes Supply Co. on 9th St.


If you know of any other great local business alternatives you think Durham should know about, please drop Crystal a line!!


Categories: Sustainable living

Discussion (7 Comments)

  1. by Jason M

    Thanks for this awesome local list, Crystal!

  2. by Liz

    This is really cool, Crystal. The Habitat Re-Store is a great place to get furniture, too.

  3. by Kristina

    Great list, Crystal!

    Do you have any thoughts about buying foreign-made goods at a locally-owned store vs. buying US-made goods at a (responsible) chain store — in terms of environmental factors, labor practices, etc. Obviously, buying locally-produced goods from a locally-owned business would be ideal, but that’s not always totally realistic. Do you know whether stores like Morgan Imports (which I love!) check the origins of the various products they sell?

    My similar conundrum during the holidays is the gifts I buy for local charities such as homeless shelters. If I have a set amount of money to spend, is it better to help two local people by purchasing “responsible” (but more expensive) gifts or to help four local people by buying less expensive, foreign-made gifts at a chain store?

    Clearly not all-or-nothing situations, but something I struggle with…

  4. Grreat list Crystal! Will share this on our Facebook page. How about adding an arts and crafts supply category? And of course adding The Scrap Exchange for used materials for creative reuse! And then Bull City Craft has new art/craft materials.

    You can also get gifts at The Scrap Exchange handmade by local artists in our Artist Marketplace.

  5. by ACW

    This is a fabulous list!
    I’d like to add that Habitat is not limited to building supplies, but also carries housewares, furniture, books, etc.
    There are also plenty of thrift stores in the area if you’re looking for clothing. Here’s the map I’ve created (it’s a work in progress): http://g.co/maps/54bdy

  6. by Crystal

    Thanks very much for your comments. Great ideas!

  7. by Crystal

    Ruth, thank you for your comments. I’ve added The Scrap Exchange and Bull City Craft. Thanks in advance for sharing this on your Facebook page.

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