DURHAM The Scrap Exchange will reopen its doors Saturday in its new home, a 23,000 square-foot facility at 2050 Chapel Hill Road in Durham.
The site is a standalone mid-century modern building in the Shoppes at Lakewood shopping center. The Scrap Exchange bought the former Cinema Theater and Duke Surplus building in December 2013, and is now ready to permanently move in and call it home.
The purchase is a significant milestone in the nonprofit’s 23-year history. The Scrap Exchange was founded in 1991 with a mission to promote creativity, environmental awareness and community through reuse. Since then, the organization has grown into a Durham institution and national model for creative reuse. In 2013, the center diverted 70 tons of usable materials from the landfills, stewarded 5320 hours of volunteer service, managed 427 creative reuse program activities, and served over 150,000 people through its retail store and programming.
Over the past two decades, the organization has operated in subsidized or leased space throughout Durham including Northgate Mall, Liberty Warehouse and Cordoba Center for the Arts. “Since our inception, we have been faced with the constant challenge of finding affordable space that could meet our operational needs,” director Ann Woodward said in a news release. “We believe we have found a solution to some of these issues, including site security and long term sustainability, as we move into a building that we ourselves own.”
The Scrap Exchange has grown significantly over the last few years in spite of many challenges. One challenge included a forced relocation in May, 2011 when the roof collapsed at Liberty Warehouse. The Scrap Exchange moved operations twice in the chaotic weeks that followed, eventually securing a lease for 22,000 square feet of space in The Cordoba Center for the Arts. That move scaled The Scrap Exchange into one of the largest nonprofit creative reuse centers in the country.
The transition from the Cordoba building to Lakewood brings reflection to Scrap Exchange staff. Woodward explains, “This is a bittersweet moment, where we say goodbye to the building we’ve called home for the past three years, to our friends at Liberty Arts, Golden Belt, and East Durham, and to our landlord, Julio Cordoba, who was a true Scrap superhero when he made a large amount of space available to us at a rent we could afford following the collapse of the Liberty Warehouse roof.”
Since purchasing the building last December, The Scrap Exchange has been busy managing a variety of retrofits to get it ready to serve the organization’s varied facets: retail store, art gallery, design center, materials collection, onsite programming and outreach programming.
The Scrap Exchange will reopen Saturday with expanded operating hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. A formal grand opening celebration will be held Oct. 5.