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Finding sustainable, fashionable shopping options in the Triangle

Shoppers browse the racks at Rumors, a thrift boutique on N. Graham St., on June 9, 2022.

With the dawn of a new semester comes an exciting wave of wardrobe revamps, hunts for new accessories and quests to find the perfect furniture for dorm rooms and off-campus apartments. 

Investing in sustainable, long-term pieces can take away from an overwhelming shopping list, preserve budgets and prevent overconsumption.

Here is a list of sustainable thrift and consignment stores that will not break the bank, allowing for some guilt-free shopping.

Rumors Chapel Hill

Rumors, located at 106 N. Graham St., is fairly accessible to students as it is close to campus. 

Rumors co-owner Casey Longyear said since coming to the Chapel Hill area, the store’s main demographic has been college-aged individuals. She added that older people will sometimes come in to sell vintage items. 

Like many other shops in the area, Rumors is a “buy-sell-trade” shop, which means they buy and trade clothes with people in the community. 

Longyear said the store sells between 20,000 and 50,000 items a month, depending on how busy the month is. Items from community members make up about 95 percent of what they sell. 

“We opened without even trying to be a sustainable business, we just opened as a secondhand clothing store before eco-friendly was a buzzword, so I didn't even realize that what we were doing was sustainable until I did,” Longyear said. “And the second I did, I decided to go into it as hard as I could, because we had the opportunity to really make a difference.” 

Sustainability goes beyond their business model — Rumors does not use plastic bags, buys eco-friendly cleaning products and encourages customers and community members to recycle their clothing. 

UNC sophomore Natalie Travis said she prefers thrifting to regular shopping, as the clothes she finds are more ​​unique and much cheaper. She said she would not be able to dress the way she does without thrifting.

“If shopping sustainably is better for the environment, too, then that's just another reason for me to do it,” Travis said. 

Rumors has two other locations: one in Durham and one in Richmond, Va. 

Durham Rescue Mission Thrift Store 

This non-profit organization operates thrift stores across North Carolina. 

In addition to buying, the organization welcomes donations of gently used clothing. They also run a shelter that provides support to unhoused people in the area, according to their website. 

In Durham, store locations are at 3220 N.C. 55 and 3900 Chapel Hill Blvd.

Trosa Thrift Store 

Trosa Thrift Store, located at 3500 N. Roxboro St. in Durham, sells clothes, furniture and more at affordable prices. The nonprofit accepts donations and works to support individuals with substance use disorders, according to their website. 

Clothes Mentor

A consignment store located at 241 S. Elliott Rd. in Chapel Hill, Clothes Mentor buys and resells women's designer clothes, shoes and accessories.

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Store manager Angelica Jackson said shoppers can get high-end brands for cheaper than market price. The store only takes donated items in great condition. 

“All of us are all different shapes, sizes and different ages,” Jackson said. “So we're really just geared towards being able to be fashionable at a reasonable price.”

The Scrap Exchange

This thrift store, located in Durham at 2050 Chapel Hill Road, sells a wide range of items, including clothing, furniture, craft supplies, sporting goods, vintage items and more.

The Scrap Exchange takes donations weekly from Wednesday to Saturday.


Located on West Main Street in Carrboro, CommunityWorx provides funds for YouthWorx on Main, a nonprofit that works to improve the lives of youth in the Triangle, according to their website.

CommunityWorx sells donated items such as furniture, household items, books and clothing.


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