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Best Art / Craft Supply Store in the Triangle

The Scrap Exchange

When the Scrap Exchange first opened 30 years ago at Northgate Mall, the storefront location featured about 3,000 square feet of retail space, with five employees and a $6,000 annual budget. Over the years, the Triangle’s foremost nonprofit advocate of creative reuse of scrap materials moved to two different locations in downtown Durham before settling into an old cinema at Lakewood Shopping Center. Today, the Scrap Exchange location sits on a 2.5-acre campus, with 10,000 square feet of retail space, a thrift store, nearly 20 employees, and an annual budget of $500,000. The place hums with activity. Last week, a volunteer sorted beads inside of the pink, white, black and gray room of the Scrap Exchange’s Cameron Gallery. Meanwhile, in an adjoining room, a group of workers eschewed their respective offices and sat together at a table, decorated with flowers fashioned from eggshell cartons, working on different projects. “One of the things we decided to do [after the pandemic shutdown ended] was to no longer be in our offices,” says Sandy Marshall, director of programs and education with the nonprofit. “So we sit around the table and work and that way we can all have input.”—TM

Finalists: Jerry’s Artarama, Freeman’s Creative, Craft Habit

Best Artisan Market / Shop in the Triangle

WomanCraft Gifts

Finalists: Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, Peel Gallery, The Artisan Market at 305, Curate

Best Bike Shop in Durham County

Durham Cycles

Finalists: Bullseye Bicycle, Seven Stars

Best Bike Shop in Orange / Chatham County

Back Alley Bikes

Best Bike Shop in Wake County

Oak City Cycling

Finalists: Cycle Logic, Inside Out Sports

Best Bookstore in the Triangle

Flyleaf Books

Finalists: Quail Ridge Books, The Regulator Bookshop, Letters Bookshop

Best CBD Shop in Durham County

MagikCraft – Bull City Magic

Finalists: Heal Tree CBD, Hemptender

Best CBD Shop in Orange / Chatham County


Finalists: Carolina Hemp, Whippoorwill Herb Co. at the Eno River Farmers’ Market

Best CBD Shop in Wake County

Aloha Plus Cannabinoids

How great is this place? Well, my stepmother is a regular customer—and she lives in Florida. Luckily, you live in the Triangle, so there’s no need to pay for shipping to enjoy Aloha’s delicious  Cannabinoid array of premium edibles, juices, gummies, tinctures, and more. Just hop on over to their Northwest Raleigh storefront on Leesville Road. Aloha’s tasty goodies alone would be enough to take the top prize here, but what really separates Aloha is the customer service. The staff is knowledgeable and welcoming, and its owner, Eric Garcia, could easily be a finalist for “Nicest Person in Raleigh” if we had that category. So, whether you have a refined Cannabinoid tongue or you’re simply curious about all the hubbub, go here. You’ll be in good hands.—GW 

Finalists: Medicine Mama’s Farmacy, Trek CBD (Wake Forest & Holly Springs)

Best CD / Record Store in the Triangle

Schoolkids Records

Finalists: Hunky Dory, Chaz’s Bull City Records, Carolina Soul Records, Volume

Best Children’s Clothing Shop in the Triangle


Finalists: Beanstalk, Pattywhacks, Peek-a-Boo Grins

Best Comic Book Store in the Triangle

Atomic Empire

Finalists: Ultimate Comics, Peel Gallery

Best Consignment / Thrift Shop in Durham County

TROSA Thrift Store

Finalists: The Scrap Exchange, Rumors, Pennies for Change

Best Consignment / Thrift Shop in Orange / Chatham County


Rumor has it…this store’s funky decor, wide selection, and one-of-a-kind pieces are more than just hearsay. Tucked away at the end of Franklin Street, Rumors’ allure speaks for itself. Even through the pandemic and a strict in-store capacity policy, the shop consistently brought a daily line of 10-20 shoppers waiting excitedly outside the door for their turn. The mannequin outside—always stylishly adorned with a vintage sweater or complementary skirt—is just a hint of what the store has to offer. Once inside, shoppers can browse every section: old-timey jackets, dresses, shirts, pants, shoes, and a robust earring collection. While the selection is fashionably curated, prices are reasonable and well worth the value of the clothes. The store’s no-plastic policy and no-judgment employees make it a sustainable and welcoming space where everyone can find something—if not 20 things—that they like.—HK

Finalists: PTA Thrift, My Secret Closet, Communityworx Carrboro

Best Consignment / Thrift Shop in Wake County

Dorcas Ministries

Finalists: Father & Son, North Raleigh Ministries Thrift Shoppe, Revolver, Trunkshow

Best Environmentally Friendly Business in the Triangle

The Scrap Exchange

Finalists: Fillaree, Trunkshow, @zkcleaners

Best Erotic Gifts in the Triangle

Cherry Pie

Finalists: Adam & Eve, Frisky Business Boutique

Best Fabric Store in the Triangle

Cary Quilting Company

Finalists: Joann Fabrics, Mulberry Silk, Freeman’s Creative

Best Florist in the Triangle

Fallon’s Flowers

Finalists: Pine State Flowers, Victoria Park Florist, Blossom and Bone Florals

Best Furniture Store in the Triangle

TROSA Thrift Store

Finalists: Heavner, Area Modern, Trunkshow

Best Garden Store in Durham County

For Garden’s Sake

Finalists: Stone Brothers, Durham Garden Center, Barnes Supply Co.

Best Garden Store in Orange / Chatham County

Southern States

Finalists: For Garden’s Sake, Fifth Season, Piedmont Feed & Garden

Best Garden Store in Wake County

Logan’s Garden Shop

Finalists: Garden Supply Company, The Zen Succulent, Fairview Garden Center

Best Garden Store in the Triangle

Logan’s Garden Shop

Finalists: For Garden’s Sake, Garden Supply Company, Durham Garden Center

Best Gift Shop in Durham County

Parker & Otis

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

Best Gift Shop in Orange / Chatham County

WomanCraft Gifts

Finalists: This & That Gift Gallery Carrboro, SallyMack, My Muses Card Shop

Best Gift Shop in Wake County

DECO Raleigh

Where do I go when I need to buy a Christmas tree ornament for my brother-in-law, a fun and educational puzzle or game for my niece, some practical jar-ware for my co-workers, or a locally-made piece of jewelry for my friend for her birthday? I go to DECO in downtown Raleigh of course (and yes, I have made all these purchases there in the last two years—absolutely no regrets). Whether it’s Target or Trader Joe’s, I feel like I can’t get out of any store these days without spending $100. So at least when I shop at DECO, I know it’s money well spent: I’m supporting a local business and the local retail scene, I’m getting fun, unique, and often locally-sourced gifts for everyone on my list, or (let’s face it) myself, and I’m not battling crowds and accidentally ramming into people with shopping carts. It’s just an overall far-superior shopping experience and a testament to the store’s staying power—DECO has been open in a brick-and-mortar location in downtown Raleigh for 10 years. I hope it’s got many more.—JP

Finalists: Edge of Urge, Bless Your Heart Boutique, Little Details

Best Hardware Store in the Triangle

Triangle Ace Hardware

Finalists: Fitch’s Lumber, Burke Brothers

Best International Market in the Triangle

Li Ming’s Global Mart

Finalists: Grand Asia Market, One World Market, Bull City Fair Trade

Best Jewelry Store in Durham County


Finalists: Light Years, WomanCraft Gifts, Hamilton Hill

Best Jewelry Store in Orange / Chatham County

Light Years

Just a tiny building nestled next to Varsity Alley on Franklin Street, this jewelry store is easy to miss, but it’s a gem that jewelry-lovers don’t want to miss out on! From earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and charms to cards and socks, this shop makes the perfect place for gift shopping for a friend, family member, or even just yourself. The jewelry is creative and affordable, and staff members are always happy to lend their advice or, in my case, spend 30 minutes trying to figure out my ring size. Both eclectic and fashionable, Light Years is sure to have you walking out of the store with a new piece of jewelry that will light up your whole year.—HK

Finalists: WomanCraft Gifts, Melissa Designer Jewelry, Carlisle & Linny Vintage Jewelry

Best Jewelry Store in Wake County

Bailey’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts

Finalists: Holland’s Jewelers, The Vintage Bee, Lily Mae’s, Wake Forest Jeweler

Best Literary Organization in the Triangle

Book Harvest

Finalists: Read and Feed, Orange County Literacy, NC Writers Network, Redbud Writing Project

Best Local Brand in the Triangle


Finalists: Runaway, Munjo Munjo,

Best New Business in Durham County


Last year, right when Cosmic Cantina’s back was about to break from 25 years spent single-handedly carrying Durham’s late-night food scene, Queeny’s sprang up to relieve some of that pressure and broaden the options for midnight snackers in the Bull City. The downtown restaurant has the vibe of your cool friend’s living room, with comfy mismatched armchairs and a Polaroid-plastered corkboard, and its menu, offered nightly until 2 a.m., balances greasy American classics with healthy and global options like kale salad, roasted veggies, and Israeli eggplant sandwiches. There’s a wide variety of draft beer, wine, and cocktails on the bar menu, but if none of the drinks strike your fancy, you can head downstairs to Kingfisher, a quaint craft cocktail bar owned by the same folks.—LG

Finalists: Part & Parcel, Zanobia Sewing Alterations, Z Koretizing Cleaners

Best New Business in Orange / Chatham County

Peel Gallery

Finalists: Coco Bistro, Iberia Boutique & Flowers, Tar Heel Escapes

Best New Business in Wake County

Remedy Cocktail Company

Finalists: Element Gastropub, trunkshow, RedCheck Pest Solutions

Best Pet Specialty Store in the Triangle


Finalists: Unleashed, Paws at the Corner, Oliver’s Collar

Best Place to Buy Locally Made Art in Durham County

TIE: Durham Farmers’ Market and Durham Craft Market

Finalists: Durham Art Guild, Artisan Market at 305, MagikCraft Bull City Magic

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

Hillsborough Gallery of Arts

Finalists: WomanCraft Gifts, Peel Gallery, Joyful Jewel

Best Place to Buy Locally Made Art in Wake County


Finalists: Deco Raleigh, Munjo Munjo, Curate

Best Place to Buy Musical Instruments in the Triangle

High Strung Violins & Guitars

Finalists: Harry’s Guitar Shop, Guitar Center, Triangle Strings, 2112 Percussion

Best Retail Beer Selection in Durham County

Sam’s Bottle Shop

Finalists: Beer Study Durham, The Glass Jug Beer Lab, Durham Co-op Market

Best Retail Beer Selection in Orange / Chatham County

Beer Study

Finalists: Weaver Street Market, Wooden Nickel Bottle Shop, House of Hops Pittsboro, Casual Pint

Best Retail Beer Selection in Wake County

State of Beer

Finalists: Peace St Market, Bottle Revolution Lake Boone Trail, Cellar 55, BottleMixx

Best Running Store in the Triangle

Fleet Feet

Finalists: Bull City Running Co., 9th Street Active Feet, Pace Yourself Run Company

Best Salvage / Reuse Business in the Triangle

The Scrap Exchange

Finalists: Habitat reStore, TROSA Thrift Store, Trunkshow

Best Store to Buy Eyeglasses in the Triangle

Warby Parker

Finalists: Carrboro Family Vision, SPECS, Spectacle

Best Toy / Kids Store in the Triangle

Ali Cat Toys

Oh, no! You suddenly remember your niece’s birthday party is in the morning, and you never got a gift! What do you do? I mean, what store could possibly have, say, some kind of Unicorn Love Floaty Keyring, Eugy Turtle Eugy, Watercolor Hearts Slap Watch, or Glow in the Dark Mini Fidget Tubes in stock at this hour!!! Well, good news. There’s a place on Earth with all that and more, and it’s Ali Cat Toys—home to just about any kind of cool, crafty, fun, kid-friendly thingamabob a mind can imagine. The toys are not only one-of-a-kind, but Ali Cat’s website makes it incredibly easy to navigate and captures nice, clear images of each toy. But where’s the fun in that? This is the place to go for in-person, hands-on browsing to find that special gift—or maybe just release your inner child.—GW

Finalists: Learning Express, Tiny, Lily Mae’s

Best Vintage / Antique Store in the Triangle

TROSA Thrift Store

Finalists: Bull City Vintage, Gibson Girl Vintage, Trunkshow

Best Wine Shop in Durham County

Wine Authorities

Finalists: Total Wine; LouElla Wine, Beer & Beverage; Hope Valley Wine & Beverage

Best Wine Shop in Orange / Chatham County

Weaver Street Market

Finalists: Chapel Hill Wine Company, Hillsborough Wine Company, Wooden Nickel Bottle Shop

Best Wine Shop in Wake County

Wine Authorities

Finalists: The Raleigh Wine Shop, Cellar 55, BottleMixx

Best Women’s Boutique in Durham County

Vaguely Reminiscent

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

Best Women’s Boutique in Orange / Chatham County

Sofia’s Boutique

Finalists: WomanCraft Gifts, New Horizons Downtown, Thirteen West Carrboro

Best Women’s Boutique in Wake County

Bless Your Heart Boutique

Finalists: Possibilities Boutique, Carolina Roots Boutique, Little Details, Trunkshow

Best Yarn Store in the Triangle

Hillsborough Yarn Shop

Finalists: Great Yarns, Freeman’s Creative, Downtown Knits

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