Recess' guide to shopping local in Durham

Still looking for a good New Year’s Resolution? Just wanting to get off campus more this semester? Support some small businesses in Durham! Whether you’re looking for a friend’s last-minute birthday gift or a break from studying, these businesses have it all: 

Bull City Escape

Need a great birthday idea for a friend or somewhere to take your family when they come to visit? Try Bull City Escape. With rooms ranging from the Wrong Side of Tobacco Road to A Study in Murder, Bull City Escape is a perfect gift for your whole friend group to enjoy.  

Bull City Records

Have a vinyl record collector in your life? Try Bull City Records for an incredible curation of high-quality vinyl classics for an affordable cost. With new arrivals nearly every week, be sure to check back on their website for inventory changes. 

Bulldega Urban Market

Love the Durham Farmer’s Market but couldn’t make it out before 12PM? The Bulldega Urban Market is a family owned business that markets locally-sourced and handmade products from the community. Many of those products are what you would see at the farmer’s market. 

Chet Miller

Need a unique gift for the person that already has everything? Check out Chet Miller. With modern goods ranging from candles and wallets to books and posters, there will certainly be a gift for the most difficult people on your list.

Durham Co-Op Market 

Opening its doors in 2015, the Durham Co-Op is a community-owned grocery store with products from local vendors like Alley Twenty-Six and D’Nardy’s Cheesecakes. They promote a diverse and inclusive shopping experience that supports the local economy and food systems. Consider getting some unique products for a family member or a giftcard for your roommate. 

The Golden Fig Books

Looking for some new titles to get away from your Marxist theory and thermodynamics homework? Golden Fig Books is the ideal blend of used and new books. The store name comes from the “Bell Jar” as the owner, David Bradley writes: “[the name] functions as a sort of mission statement for the store, as we want to help our customers and our community find books that will lead them to their own golden figs."

Jeddah’s Tea

For all the tea-lovers in your life, I recommend Jeddah’s Tea. Jeddah’s Tea was founded in 2018 from “a passion for tea and a deep love of the community.” Offering many loose leaf tea varieties, pastries, and coffee, you are sure to find the perfect mix for your loved ones. 

Mad Popper

Founded by Andrea Ginsberg in 2011, the local gourmet shop Mad Popper produces seven signature popcorn flavors as well as seasonal flavors and flavors of the week. With sizes ranging from party to snack, there are plenty of options for study snacks. 

Other End of the Leash Pet Boutique & Bakery

Want to bring home some treats for your furry friend? Other End of the Leash has got you covered. Serving both dogs and cats, Other End of the Leash offers high quality nutritional and fair trade products to keep your pets healthy. 

Pine State Flowers

With flowers, houseplants, and gifts, Pine State Flowers promotes environmentally friendly practices and supports local farmers with their purchase of locally-sourced materials. During the growing season, 99% of the flowers they use come from North Carolina, helping to eliminate the massive waste trail that comes with out-sourcing materials. Beyond these environmental positives, Pine State has a beautiful curation of goods and flowers for this holiday season.

Sundries at Locopops

Many Duke students and Durham locals alike have come to love Locopops for their inventive hand-crafted popsicles and ice-cream. During the pandemic, though, they opened a neighborhood grocery and specialty store known as Sundries. They have a rotating selection of wines, pantry staples and specialty items from the community.


Have to shop for a niece or nephew this year? Try Tiny: the perfect mix of craft supplies, kid’s toys, books, and decor. Who knows, you might even find an item or two. 

The ZEN Succulent

Founded by mother/daughter team Margaret and Megan George in 2016, ZEN Succulent seeks to provide a “modern take on traditional terrariums inspired by our natural surroundings, our love for urban planting, and our delight in color.” They offer everything from plants and body products to DIY terrarium classes, every plant-lover is guaranteed to be satisfied. 

The Durham Box

Overwhelmed by the options? Try the Durham Box: a curated box of local and handmade products and discounts to use in the community. It is the perfect opportunity to get to know the city of Durham through its artisans. 


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