Surplus Sid’s, located on East Main Street in Carrboro, has almost as much character as its owner, Barry “Sid” Keith.
Even from a distance, passersby can see the overflow of military gadgets, gear, wigs and novelty items coming out of the eclectic shop, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next month.
Walking into the store is no different, as customers wander through aisles, looking at everything from military helmets to retro army radios to furniture.
Before owning his own shop, Keith graduated from UNC with a degree in political science and history and worked in the restaurant business.
“I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be able to start my own country,” he said. “And when I came back to Chapel Hill, I got back in touch with a guy who was retiring from owning his own surplus shop so I figured I’d take off where he left.”
And so began Surplus Sid’s.
Every inch of the store — including the walls and the floor— is covered in items for sale.
“People will come into the store and say this is the neatest store I’ve ever been in,” Keith said. “We keep trying to find interesting things.”
Surplus Sid’s also recently began an effort to fit in with Carrboro’s environmentally-friendly ideals.
Keith said he has revamped the store to be more energy efficient as a part of Carrboro’s Worthwhile Investments Save Energy, or WISE, program. The program encourages energy efficiency among small businesses by offering monetary incentives.
He said the store hopes to conserve up to 35 percent of its energy use.
Eddie Mercier, an employee of Surplus Sid’s, said he sees a variety of customers.
He said the store can offer students looking for costumes and unusual items alternatives to the usual Franklin Street shops.
Annette Stone, economic and community development director for Carrboro, described her first impression of Surplus Sid’s as a town landmark that is “funky and cool.”
Stone said small businesses such as Surplus Sid’s are integral to the town’s economy.
“Collectively, small businesses employ a vast number in this community. It’s really essential that we support our small businesses like Sid’s,” she said.
And with the store’s 25th anniversary approaching, Keith said he has no plans of closing up his unique shop anytime soon.
“We’ve been around for 25 years,” Keith said. “Hopefully we’ll be around for another 25. Keep on keeping on.”
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