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Shop Local: A Durham Shopping Guide

Shop small with Durham's local businesses, souvenir and gift shops in downtown and across the city.

Posted By Amber Watson on Nov 16, 2023

Whether you're headed to a dinner party thrown by your most stylish friend, have hard-to-shop-for family members on your holiday gift list, or have a keen eye for handcrafted, locally-made products for yourself, Durham's shops have you covered. Discover Durham connected with Amber Watson, owner of Bites of Bull City, to bring you a list of incredible local shops and markets offering everything from essential items and practical goods to gifts (even for dogs) that will make you feel right at home.

Specialty Food Shops & General Stores

Bulldega Urban Market | 129 W. Parrish St.

Bulldega is a small, family-owned grocery and convenience store in the heart of downtown Durham. With fresh produce, humanely raised meats from local farms, boxed and canned goods, toiletries, lotions and soaps, beer and wine, packaged foods to go, a fresh salad bar, local chocolate, household goods and small trinkets, they pack a lot of valuable items into a relatively small footprint. You can easily find everything you need to make complete meals at your rental property or hotel suite, they've got your back if you forgot to pack necessities and you can find Durham-made souvenirs to commemorate your trip.

Sundries at Locopops | 2618 Hillsborough Rd.

In 2021, Locopops, known for its locally hand-crafted popsicles, ice cream, lattes and floats, expanded with Sundries, a neighborhood grocery and specialty food shop. Sundries offers locally prepared foods, specialty items and pantry essentials like beer, wine, coffee, cheese and bread, spices, pasture-raised meats, snacks, coffee, tea, home goods and personal care products, puzzles and cards. Grab a pop and shop around with the kids or grandkids!

Melina’s Fresh Pasta Shop | 2717 Chapel Hill Rd.

If you are craving a hearty home-cooked meal, consider picking up some traditional, fresh-made, authentic Italian pasta from Melina's Fresh Pasta Shop. Melina's carries a large assortment of pasta, including filled spinach and cheese ravioli, lemon ricotta, mushroom, and light and flavorful gnocchi and sauces. The pasta is made fresh and then frozen, so all you have to do is boil some water when you're ready to eat! For a super easy Italian meal, order their hefty take-and-bake tins of lasagna or manicotti.

Foster's Market | 2694 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.

Foster's Market has a charming cottage café vibe. Head over for breakfast or lunch and enjoy a salad, soup, sandwich, or one of their many baked goods (perhaps a slice of their indulgent peanut butter pie) on the patio or lawn. On your way out, stop to peruse their selection of local gifts, including jams, coffee, toffee, cheese straws, grits and candy, along with cookbooks and kitchenware.

Foster's Market is a gourmet food market and cafe, focusing on scratch-made soups, salads, casseroles, sandwiches and more.

Foster's Market Photo: Jessie Gladdek

Bull and Bean | 3710 Shannon Rd.

Bull and Bean is a small café and coffee shop that also touts a small retail section featuring Durham mugs, delicious Durham and Chapel Hill toffee, Bull City books, planners and more. It's the perfect place to visit to grab breakfast, a sandwich, or a pastry, and pick up a quick souvenir.

Durham Co-op Market | 1111 W. Chapel Hill St.

The Durham Co-op Market is more than just a warm and welcoming grocery store with fresh produce, staples like milk and eggs, frozen food, boxed and canned goods, sweet treats, wine and beer, granola and nuts in bulk, locally sourced meats, bread and cheese (mostly from local farms, bakeries and makers). They also have a section dedicated to higher-end specialty items and Durham-made products. The Co-op also features a deli counter with prepared foods to go and a café menu with coffee and more. There is a spacious seating area outside with picnic tables if you want to sip your coffee or enjoy a meal outdoors as you plot your next move.

The Mad Popper | 105 W NC-54

Have you ever tried popcorn flavored with green apple, french toast, hot wings and ranch, or dill pickle? If there is ever a popcorn flavor you have been curious to try, chances are the Mad Popper in South Durham has it. This local gourmet shop pops fresh popcorn daily and covers it in over 40 sweet and savory flavors. Grab a small bag or tin for the perfect travel snack while on the road, or take some home to family and friends.

Gifts, Cards & Souvenirs

If you're visiting during the holidays and would like to shop for locally-made gifts straight from the makers themselves, use our list of holiday makers markets to find the perfect opportunity to shop.

Parker & Otis | 324 Blackwell St., Bay 4

With its fun and funky vibe and plethora of gifts, goods, and curated food items, American Tobacco Campus shop Parker & Otis is one-of-a-kind. The popular, long-standing café/shop hybrid has everything on your list and then some: local gifts, chocolate, wine, party and paper supplies, toys, puzzles, games, cookbooks, home décor, bags, totes, cards and more. Make sure to grab a coffee or chai and try the classic P&O sandwich with pimento cheese to fuel you up as you explore more of Durham.

Chet Miller | 118 W. Parrish St.

Both the savvy business traveler and the adult who has everything will find something to surprise and delight at Chet Miller. The shop carries classy modern goods with a vintage vibe, personal care items for the discerning gentleman and everything you can imagine to stock a bar besides the alcohol. It's a great place to visit to snag elegant local souvenirs like etched Durham tumblers, Bright Black candles, high-end chocolate, crude bitters, funny adult cards, and unique items for the office.

Kids' Clothing and Toys

Tiny | 770 9th St.

If you have children or grandkids or need to shop for a baby shower, you definitely want to make a stop at Tiny. The shop has everything from diaper bags, blankets and nursery décor to creative and cute arts and crafts, clothing for babies and toddlers, children's books, puzzles, games, stuffed animals, candy, and cards. We promise you will leave happy with adorable, whimsical baby and children's toys, gifts, and apparel.

International Housewares and Gifts

Bull City Fair Trade | 811 Ninth St., #100

At this bright and welcoming small shop, you will find hand-crafted accessories from all over the world. Shop colorful bags, purses, scarves, beautiful jewelry, stunning home décor like lanterns and candles, kitchen items like tea towels and coasters, toys, cards and even edible treats like fair trade chocolate. Bull City Fair Trade's focus is on providing fair wages to low-income craft persons, and they work with artisans who live in over 70 different developing countries.

Indio | 905 W. Main St., Suite 20G

Located in the Brightleaf Square neighborhood of downtown Durham, Indio offers gorgeous, thoughtfully curated artistic home goods, including artisan-made Mexican housewares. Inside, you'll find luxurious tablecloths and runners, trays, mugs, reusable bags, pouches, high-quality candles, diffusers, incense, soaps, lotions, jewelry, prints, puzzles, notebooks and more.

Exotique | 319 W. Main St.

Along with selling African-style clothing, this unique downtown boutique features a collection of handmade items from artists around the world (and Durham, too!) You'll find incredible works of art, instruments, décor, vibrant purses, clothing, fabrics, accessories, jewelry and décor. Stop by and grab an outfit or get something to liven up your home or office.

Clothing and Accessories

Dolly’s Vintage | 213 W. Main St.

Get all your funky one-of-a-kind items at Dolly's Vintage in the heart of downtown. Spend hours looking through vintage clothing, scarves, gloves, costume wigs and jewelry, and an eclectic assortment of socks. They also have old-fashioned candy, sunglasses, cards and local gifts and art. There is so much to catch your eye, and you'll definitely leave with something extraordinary.

Vaguely Reminiscent | 728 Ninth St.

Vaguely Reminiscent has been a fixture on Ninth St. for quite a while. Their space has evolved from selling natural fiber clothing and basket-weaving supplies to a shop packed with eclectic and comfortable women's clothing, shoes, jewelry, hair scrunchies, and purses. Need a unique gift? They also sell colorful and quirky socks, wind chimes, buttons and magnets.

Explore more clothing shopping in Durham with these guides to fashionable boutiques and and shops.

Flowers, Candles and Cards

Bright Black | 2020 Chapel Hill Rd #24

Bright Black is a family-owned company that uses scent as a medium and candles as a platform for sharing positive narratives about Blackness. Bright Black started with the Diaspora collection with scents honoring cities of Black greatness, including a signature scent for Durham. You can now shop many more candle fragrances, body oils and merchandise, or set up an appointment at the creators studio to customize your own scent.

Bright Black candles and minis, including the "Durham" scent.

Bright Black | Photo: Discover Durham

Bowerbird Flowers and Apothecary | 3105 Shannon Rd., Suite 205

Bowerbird's UHill studio and shop is filled with flowers and arrangements, plus locally-made and thoughtfully curated gifts, cards and an apothecary featuring skincare, teas, candles and more.

Bowerbird Flowers and Apothecary in UHills

Bowerbird Flowers and Apothecary | Photo: Discover Durham

The Zen Succulent | 123 Market St., Suite B

The Zen Succulent is a tiny downtown paradise for plant parents and terrarium obsessives. Find highly sought-after selections like staghorn ferns, locally-made ceramics, cards and more, and stay entertained with classes and workshops.

Dog Treats and Toys

Oliver’s Collar Dog Treat Bakery & Boutique | 202 W. North Carolina 54, Space 0016

In South Durham, there is a popular pet boutique and bakery that makes spoiling your pup easy. All the Oliver's Collar treats are baked with wholesome ingredients like carrots, sweet potatoes, molasses, and other ingredients you would find in your kitchen. They also carry everything from animal apparel and travel gear to toys, leashes, cards and adorable gift boxes.

Durham-Centric Apparel

Durham Bulls Ballpark Corner Store | 409 Blackwell St.

Are you looking for a piece of Bull Durham movie nostalgia? Located at the Durham Bull's Athletic Park, the Durham Bull's Ballpark Corner Store is the official store of the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team. Not only will you find baseball caps, apparel and jerseys sporting the team's iconic bull brand for adults, youth, babies and pets, but you can also purchase key chains, mugs, bags and display baseballs. Go Bulls!

A family celebrates outside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Durham Bulls Merch | Photo: Samantha Everette

Duke University Store | 125 Science Dr.

Get the official Duke Blue Devils swag at the campus store. Score college hoodies and tees along with jerseys, hats and memorabilia to rep your favorite team.

Bull City Apparel and Customs | 3023 Fayetteville St.

Represent the Bull City in style with Durham-inspired streetwear from Bull City Apparel and Customs on Fayetteville Street. This is not your typical t-shirt shop. Find varsity jackets, vintage tees and limited-edition designs.

Independently-Owned Durham Bookshops

Golden Fig Books | 2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.

It's okay if you forget to pack a book for a rainy day or need more reading material on your trip. Golden Fig Books is a locally owned bookshop with a fantastic variety of titles, both used and new. The charming, thousand-square-foot store features an inviting layout resplendent in natural light, so grab a coffee and pick up your next good read.

Letters Bookshop | 116 W. Main St.

Letters Bookshop has expanded to a light-filled, two-story downtown shop, and it's everything you need and more. More space, more used books, more new books, and an expanded area for kids. Beer, wine, drip coffee, and events mean there's plenty of reasons to stay and browse for a while.

The Regulator Bookshop | 720 Ninth St.

The Regulator Bookshop sells a little bit of everything. In addition to the wide selection of books – fiction, mystery, poetry, cookbooks, kids books and more – they also sell mugs, shirts, totes, and yes, hot sauce. Make sure to check out the selection of books from local writers.

Wentworth & Legget Books | 905 W. Main St.

Located in Brightleaf Square, Wentworth & Legget Books is a warm and friendly shop with many items priced to attract students or casual readers as well as the shrewd collector.

About the Author

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Amber Watson - Founder, Content Creator
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Amber Watson is the creator and writer of the local Durham food news blog, Bites of Bull City. For more, follow @bitesofbullcity.