‘The Scrap’ and a RAD new development

Cashier and greeter and The Scrap Exchange, Amy Schiemann--shows off the wares at The Scrap. (Staff photo by Elle Kehres)


Walk into The Scrap Exchange on any given Monday, and you may just be greeted by Amy Schmiemann.

Schmiemann often frequented this creative reuse arts center back when it was at its Golden Belt location. She loved her decoupage class so much that she decided to apply for a job.

Schmiemann has been working as a part-time greeter and cashier at The Scrap for the past three years.

“I enjoy all the customers and the people I work with,” Shmiemann said. “If I chose one word, it’s just ‘fabulous’.”

Retail will be moved around to make room for a makers’ space. (Staff photo by Elle Kehres)

Schmiemann is also looking forward to the upcoming and current developments that The Scrap is undergoing.

Last year, The Scrap expanded 12.5 acres after purchasing the northern part of the Lakewood Shopping Center. Since then, plans have been in motion to bring The Reusable Arts District, better known as RAD, to life.

RAD will be a multi-faceted cultural, environmental, historical, recreational, and community-based destination. The new allotted space will allow The Scrap to implement a variety of new amenities such as community gardens, a sculpture park, thrift store, shipping container mall, basketball court, skateboard park, and adventure playground.

The director of The Scrap Exchange, Ann Woodward, has been working towards this expansion since she started her position in 2003. She saw the empty space at The Lakewood Shopping Center as a perfect opportunity for growth.

“I wanted to re-imagine and rethink a shopping center,” Woodward said. “There are so many underutilized properties—and you can change them into a community asset. Having access to public places is a great way to engage your creativity.”

Over the next six months, The Scrap will be getting ready to lease out its new property to local businesses. This, along with initial installments of RAD, will be instrumental in stabilizing the property in order to pay the mortgage after having recently paid back a loan of $2.5 million.

The first new installments of RAD come in the form of a thrift store arriving at the beginning of December. New job positions are currently being filled. Eighty percent of The Scrap’s present retail will be moved to the thrift store in order to make room for a makers’ space.

Daniel Bagnell is most excited for this new, creative workspace. Bagnell has been working as a driver and the design coordinator at The Scrap for the past 10 years.

As a welder, he has been waiting for the opportunity to have a more community-accessible, studio workspace.

“A lot of us here build and make stuff, and it’s a hard thing to buy space as Durham is getting more chi chi,” Bagnell said. “When you go to school you have access to studios and tools—and when you leave you have none of that.”

Bagnell is also excited for all the new additions to the outside space. He really wants to see their plans for a skate park and basketball court become a reality. To do that, The Scrap is working hard to fundraise. Overall, they hope to raise $100 million over the next 10 years to fund their “reuse revolution”.

“If anyone has lots of money and wants to give it to us,” Bagnell quipped. “But really we’re excited. Sometimes it feels like we’re taking big leaps and other times it feels like stuff is just sitting in our mind forever. But we see a lot more people every day and it feels good.”