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Best Place to Buy Locally Made Art in Wake County

DECO Raleigh

Finalists: Adventures In Bloom, Cary Gallery of Artists, TrunkShow 

Best Consignment/Thrift Shop in Wake County

Dorcas Thrift Shop

Things I bought at my last visit to Dorcas Thrift Shop: A Corningware casserole dish, a glass carafe with little pink flowers, and a cross-stitch of the phrase “Happiness is Homemade” with a sweet note on the back from one friend to another. As a vintage aficionado, I love making the short drive to Cary to sift through retirees’ mid-century modern decor and high-end department store clothes. Dorcas delivers this in a clean, well-organized store with tons of great finds, with a majority-volunteer staff that always seem ready to lend a hand. Shop revenue goes toward covering bills, rent, and food for neighbors who need it—centering the whole “feeding and clothing the least of these” thing that Jesus talked about. In 2018, the $1.4 million they raised went to 26,000 people in Cary and Morrisville. —SP

Finalists: North Raleigh Ministries Thrift Shoppe, TrunkShow, Raleigh Furniture Gallery

Best Local Brand in the Triangle

Munjo Munjo

Finalists: RUNAWAY, The Vintage Bee, Be Like Missy

Best Retail Beer Selection in Orange / Chatham County

Beer Study

Finalists: Weaver Street Market, House of Hops Pittsboro, The Casual Pint

Best Running Store in the Triangle

Fleet Feet

Finalists: Bull City Running Co., Pace Yourself Run Company, Runologie

Best Yarn Store in the Triangle

Hillsborough Yarn Shop

Finalists: Great Yarns, Warm and Fuzzy, Freeman’s Creative Craft Supply

Best Bike Shop in Wake County

Oak City Cycling

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, but if one activity has remained fiery, it’s bike riding. Oak City Cycling, a bike shop located near William Peace University, is the place to go for all your two-wheeled needs (though its iconic weekly maintenance class and cruiser ride is currently on hold). But in spite of these changes, the shop remains one of the best places to buy and test-ride bikes and to get repairs, replacements, and biking gear. Both new and used bikes come with respective warranties, and for cyclists looking for new routes to try, Oak City Cycling serves as the starting point for many easy and challenging cycling routes. —CEJ

Finalists: All Star Bike Shop, Cycle Logic, Inside-Out Sports, Rhythm Wheel Works

Best Erotic Gifts in the Triangle

Cherry Pie

Finalists: Adam & Eve, Frisky Business Boutique, Priscilla McCall’s, The Maxxx Adult Store

Best Bike Shop in Orange / Chatham County

Back Alley Bikes

Finalists: The Clean Machine, Trek Bicycle Chapel Hill, Pittsboro Bicycles

Best Bookstore in the Triangle

Quail Ridge Books

Finalists: Flyleaf Books, The Regulator, Dog-Eared Books

Best Place to Buy Musical Instruments in the Triangle

Harry’s Guitar Shop

Finalists: High Strung Violins & Guitars, Guitar Center, Twin House

Best Salvage / Re-use Business in the Triangle

Habitat for Humanity ReStores

Finalists: The Scrap Exchange, TROSA Thrift Store, TrunkShow

Best Environmentally Friendly Business in the Triangle

The Scrap Exchange

Finalists: TROSA Thrift Store, Fillaree, TrunkShow 

Best Garden Store in the Triangle

Logan’s Trading

Finalists: For Garden’s Sake, Garden Supply Company, Homewood Nursery & Garden Center

Best Furniture Store in the Triangle

TROSA Thrift Store

TROSA is a repeat reader favorite in the “best furniture store” category, and for good reason: If you are searching for an affordable piece of used furniture, no matter how specific, you are pretty much guaranteed to walk out of TROSA with one. It’s like the world’s best-curated yard sale, with rows of couches, lamps, tables, desks, shelves, and rugs. Need an old-fashioned magazine holder, an offbeat end table, a pair of floral outdoor cushions? The TROSA store—part of a larger substance abuse residential recovery program offering vocational services—has your back. Careful, though—you might make your way over to the clothing section and walk out with an extra pair of shoes or two. —SE

Finalists: Raleigh Furniture Gallery, Hill Country Woodworks, TrunkShow, Discount Furniture of the Carolinas

Best Gift Shop in Orange / Chatham County

WomanCraft Gifts

If meeting the artists whose work you buy is important to you, then WomanCraft Gifts is just your place. Many of the women who sell their work in the store also work at the counter. From $12 stained glass birds to $120 hand-coiled pine needle baskets, the store offers something for everyone, regardless of how much you can pay. I love exploring all there is on offer whenever I take a walk down Main Street in Carrboro. But talking to the local artists I’m supporting is by far my favorite part of the experience. —EH

Finalists: Magic on 70, This & That Gift Gallery, Sally Mack

Best Women’s Boutique in Wake County

Carolina Roots Boutique

Finalists: Lily Mae’s, Little Details, Pinafore Boutique

Best Women’s Boutique in Orange / Chatham County


Finalists: Womancraft Gifts, Say Wear Boutique, Lark Home Apparel

Best Toy/Kids Store in the Triangle

Learning Express Toys & Gifts

Finalists: Ali Cat Toys, Read With Me, Tiny

Best New Business in Orange / Chatham County

Bottom of The Fox Farm

Finalists: Mia Frenduto Photography, Peel Gallery

Best New Business in Durham County

The Durham Food Hall

Finalists: The Glass Jug Beer Lab Downtown Durham, Crafts & Drafts NC

Best Jewelry Store in Orange / Chatham County

Light Years

I normally have at least one piece of jewelry from Light Years on my body at all times (as I write this, two of the five rings adorning my fingers were purchased at Light Years). Similarly, my fridge has at least two magnets with Light Years price stickers still on the back. It’s my go-to for hoops, studs, dainty necklaces, and rings; it’s also my go-to place to take my mom and sister when they visit, since the small Chapel Hill store is stocked wall-to-wall with different styles and small gifts that you can’t help but pick up. Since it’s locally owned, I also feel better going there to get jewelry that suits my tastes, over a big-box store like Target or an overpriced chain like Urban Outfitters. —SP

Finalists: WomanCraft Gifts, Melissa Designer Jewelry, William Travis Jewelry

Best Gift Shop in Wake County

Bless Your Heart Boutique 

Finalists: DECO Raleigh, Lily Mae’s, Little Details

Best Wine Shop in Wake County

Total Wine

Finalists: The Raleigh Wine Shop, Wine Authorities, Taylor’s Wine Shop

Best Women’s Boutique in Durham County

Vaguely Reminiscent

Finalists: Vert & Vogue, Dolly’s Vintage, Smitten Boutique 

Best Retail Beer Selection in Durham County

Sam’s Bottle Shop

Finalists: Beer Study, The Glass Jug Beer Lab, Durham Co-op Market, Crafts & Drafts NC

Best Fabric Store in the Triangle

Cary Quilting Company

Finalists: Mulberry Silks & Fine Fabrics, Freeman’s Creative Craft Supply, Bernina World of Sewing

Best Art / Craft Supply Store in the Triangle

The Scrap Exchange

Finalists: Jerry’s Artarama of Raleigh, Freeman’s Creative Craft Supply, Craft Habit Raleigh

Best Place to Buy Locally Made Art in Orange / Chatham County

Womancraft Gifts

Finalists: Magic on 70, Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, Frank Gallery, Peel Gallery, Hillsborough Art Council Gift Shop

Best Gift Shop in Durham County

Parker and Otis

Coming up with gift ideas fills me with anxiety; thankfully, the Triangle’s got good gift shops. Parker & Otis is literally crammed with good gifts for birthdays (or baby showers, or Father’s Day, or housewarming, or basically any event that necessitates a gift). The hybrid retail and restaurant—which recently moved to the American Tobacco Campus, after 13 years in Durham’s Brightleaf District—contains aisles of cookbooks, candles, journals and note cards, bulk candy, North Carolina kitsch, and many, many things made out of Mason jars. It also serves some of the most delicious egg salads and sandwiches in the Triangle. Don’t just take it from me: Readers also voted Parker & Otis Best Sandwich in Durham County. Maybe you really can have it all. —SE

Finalists: Vaguely Reminiscent, The Artisan Market at 305, Bull City Fair Trade

Best Hardware Store in the Triangle

Triangle ACE Hardware, Durham Woodcroft

Finalists: Fitch Lumber, Town and Country Hardware (Cary), Burke Brothers Hardware

Best Wine Shop in Durham County

Wine Authorities

Finalists: Bulldega Urban Market, The Wine Feed, Hope Valley Wine & Beverage

Best Place to Buy Locally Made Art in Durham County

Durham Craft Market

Finalists: Durham Night Market, Durham County Pottery Tour, The Artisan Market at 305

Best Store to Buy Eyeglasses in the Triangle

Carrboro Family Vision

Finalists: Upchurch Optical, Specs, The Eye Institute Seaboard

Best New Business in Wake County

Femme Fromage NC

Who doesn’t love a cheese plate, especially when you’re stuck at home, drinking wine, with nothing else to do––like, say, during a global pandemic? According to local lore (and the Femme Fromage Instagram page), two mom friends, Natasha and Gabby, started Femme Fromage as a way to teach folks how to design pretty charcuterie boards for parties, company team building, and other events right before the pandemic took hold. But, rather than flailing as so many food-based businesses did during this last treacherous year, Femme Fromage found its footing with charcuterie boxes to go and virtual classes. Today, Femme Fromage is flourishing. —JP

Finalists: TrunkShow, OutpostLE, Manes and Mascara Salon

Best Retail Beer Selection in Wake County

Black Dog Bottle Shop

Finalists: House of Hops, Greenway Beer and Wine, Pelagic Beer and Wine

Best Bike Shop in Durham County

Durham Cycles

Finalists: Oak City Cycling, Bullseye Bicycle, Seven Stars Cycles

Best Children’s Clothing Shop in the Triangle

Once Upon a Child

Finalists: Tiny, Glee Kids, Beanstalk, Children’s Orchard Raleigh

Best Consignment/Thrift Shop in Durham County

The Scrap Exchange Thrift Store

It’s a regular weekend at The Scrap Exchange. There’s a teacher browsing the crafting, school, and office supplies sections. There’s a parent choosing crafts for their son’s art homework and browsing the electronics section for their daughter’s robotics project. There’s a couple looking to furnish their brand-new apartment, as fashion students leaf through the leather scrap pieces bin. A few kids are sitting among the book stacks, flipping through to find what interests them. In what other place can you find so many different people searching for so many different things? —RS

Finalists: TROSA Thrift Store, Pennies for Change, Fifi’s of Durham

Best CD / Record Store in the Triangle

Schoolkids Records

Finalists: Nice Price Books & Records, Chaz’s Bull City Record, Volume Records & Beer

Best International Market in the Triangle

H Mart

Finalists: Li Mings, Grand Asia, Bull City Fair Trade, Food World Durham, K-town Market

Best Butcher Shop in the Triangle

The Butchers Market

Finalists: Left Bank Butchery, King’s Red & White, Carolina Butcher Shop

Best Vintage / Antique Store in the Triangle

Father and Son

Finalists: Dolly’s Vintage, TrunkShow, Raleigh Furniture Gallery

Best Jewelry Store in Durham County


Finalists: Light Years, Hamilton Hill Jewelry, Atelier N Fine Jewelry 

Best Comic Book Store in the Triangle

Ultimate Comics Cary & Durham

Finalists: Atomic Empire, Foundation’s Edge

Best Jewelry Store in Wake County

Holland’s Jewelers

Finalists: The Vintage Bee, color me badd girl collection, Be Like Missy

Best Consignment/Thrift Shop in Orange / Chatham County

Chatham PTA Thrift

Finalists: Rumors Boutique, My Secret Closet, CommunityWorx Thrift Shop

Best Florist in the Triangle

The English Garden

Finalists: Preston Flowers, Blossom & Bone Florals, Elan House

Best Pet Specialty Store in the Triangle


Finalists: Unleashed the Dog & Cat Store, Oliver’s Collar Dog Treat Bakery & Boutique, Other End of the Leash Pet Boutique & Bakery

Best Wine Shop in Orange / Chatham County

Weaver Street Market

Finalists: Chapel Hill Wine Company, Hillsborough Wine Company, winestore. Chapel Hill

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