September at The Scrap Exchange

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Scrap Thrift’s dedicated book crew. Front Row: Staff members, Dave Smith, Assistant Manager,
Cade Carlson and Connor Seaton. Back Row: Volunteers, Nan Dietrich and Lew Shiner. Not Pictured Rob Westfall.


Earlier this year, Scrap Thrift added a used book store and the space at the rear of the store has been bumping ever since. In the planning stages for over 2 years, The Scrap Exchange purchased the inventory and shelving from Nice Price Books on Broad Street in Durham prior to the store’s closing in 2016. The well-stocked book store is operated by a core group of staff members and dedicated volunteers that manage the flow, shelving, research and merchandising for the steady stream of quality used books, music and media.

Cade Carlson, Assistant Manager of Scrap Thrift and team lead of the book department worked closely with the Cascade Alliance to establish the department in late 2017 and early 2018. Cade refers to his team as “an incredibly dedicated group and some of the best volunteers he has ever worked with.” With over 13,000 hours logged by volunteers in 2017, that is quite an endorsement!

Staff members Dave Smith, a.k.a., The Task Master and Conner Seaton handle backroom book processing while volunteers Lew Shiner, Nan Dietrich and Rob Westfall donate time and expertise to keep the merchandise moving. Dave, originally from Danville, VA discovered the Scrap Exchange while exploring downtown Durham in 2006. He was hired as part of the new thrift store staff in the Fall of 2017. Dave’s family were big readers, had books all over the house and always encouraged reading. He has worked in libraries over the years, but never imagined working in a book store because they are going away.

“It’s continually fascinating and you see something new every single day, something you had no idea existed! Sometimes even things you don’t want to see,” says Dave laughing! Dave is especially good at merchandising and created the What’s New grouping at the front of the space. He is also a big music, movie and comics man. “We have record customers that come in daily, and often buy up to 100 records at a time. Some days we just bring the boxes of donated records straight to them to sort thru,” states Dave.

Volunteer Nan Deitrich grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and came to Durham in 1976 to attend nursing school. She learned about creative reuse and discovered The Scrap Exchange after befriending artist Bryant Holsenbeck. As a recently retired nurse, Nan heard about the new book store at Scrap Thrift and signed up to volunteer. She has never worked with books, but has been a big reader all her life.

She began processing raw donations of books along with Connor but now gets to do her favorite part, the organizing and tiding of the shelves. “It’s great for someone like me that has such an organizational streak,” says Nan. She also loves to help children and new comers to the store find a book they would like. She has learned a lot about customer service by letting them explore for a bit after a quick greeting and then being available for questions when they are ready. “It’s so satisfying when they a book she has guided them to,” states Nan. Her team mates say that Nan is great at anticipating what customers need and positioning the inventory where they can find it. “She’s building little bits of order in the chaos,” says volunteer Lew Shiner.

Camaraderie and teamwork is ever present when talking with this group. They poke fun at each other, the laughs come easily and they are all quick to voice praise for one another and the work they are doing. Discovering that humble volunteer, Lew Shiner is a published author stunned the group during the interview for this story. “Lew always knows the answers,” exclaimed Nan.

Lew (Lewis) Shiner’s love of books began at age 3 when his parents taught him to read. “I learned to read early because they were tired of reading to me,” jokes Lew. A published author since 1968, Lew has penned eight novels, Heroes and Villains (Subterranean ,2017), Dark Tangos (Subterranean, 2011), Black & White (Subterranean, 2008), Say Goodbye (St. Martin’s, 1999), Glimpses (Morrow, 1993), Slam (Doubleday, 1990), Deserted Cities of the Heart (Doubleday, 1988), Frontera (Baen, 1984) that are quite popular in Europe. There is a complete list of his books and short stories at

Lew has lived in Triangle area since 1996 and discovered The Scrap Exchange when his girlfriend Orla Swift served on the board of directors. After retiring last year, Lew wanted to fill some time and now volunteers for a full 8-hour shift every Wednesday. His past expertise as a writer and book collector makes him a great researcher for the vintage books. Volunteer Rob Westfall also helps Lew with the online research. “You can learn a lot about books when you are trying to determine the category it belongs in. Analyzing the Library of Congress information on the back cover and title page or leafing thru the contents will provide clues to where it belongs. Books will always have something to tell you,” says Lew.


The School of Doc, funded by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, is a free program serving Durham teens who participate in the five-week intensive summer course taught by professional filmmakers. The program is held in Full Frame’s theater and classroom space, where students work as a crew to produce a professional documentary film. Coursework includes all technical elements of the craft: camera, lights, sound, editing, and special effects, as well as pre- and post-production considerations such as rights and clearances, graphics and credits. Each School of Doc student spends time working in each of these areas.

Students build self-esteem as they work as a team, choose their own subject (this year they chose The Scrap Exchange), and create a final film. Students also discover the link between documentary film making skills and real-world job skills. Throughout the program, students visit local job sites where these tools are applied, such as ABC 11, Trailblazer Studios, and the Durham Bulls television studio. At the end of the five weeks, the students present their final film to more than 100 excited audience members in the Full Frame Theater. Click here to view the film.

Helping Hands Needed

The Scrap Exchange is currently recruiting committee members and volunteers for Smashfest which will be held on Black Friday, Friday, November 23rd.

Committee Members: If you have event planning skills in your tool belt, we would love your help in planning the glorious return of this much beloved, signature event. Our first planning meeting will be held on Friday, September 14th at 3:30 PM. To join the committee, please RSVP to our Special Events Coordinator, Diana Shark at

Day of Volunteers: If planning meetings are not your thing, we will need lots of helping hands for the day of the event. You can register as a volunteer by completing our brief volunteer application. Please mention SmashFest in the Skills and Interests field on the form. Please note that if you have never volunteered with us before, you will need to attend a brief volunteer orientation session prior to the event.

Sponsors Needed

Join in on the outrageous fun and highlight your organization by becoming a SmashFest sponsor. Benefits include:

Wrecking Ball $2,500 (2 available)

  • Premier box of FREE smashables for your company
  • Booth space to showcase and promote your business
  • Banner displayed at event
  • Prominent logo and name displayed on all signage and event-related marketing & promotional (printed & on-line)
  • Prominent logo and link from the event page on The Scrap Exchange’s web site
  • Free company event at The Scrap Exchange

Sledgehammer $1,000 (5 available)

  • Box of FREE smashables for your company
  • Booth space to showcase and promote your business
  • Banner display at event
  • Logo and name on all event-related marketing & promotional materials (printed & on-line)
  • 1 complimentary room rentals (subject to availability)

Pain in the Glass $500 (10 available)

  • Free tickets for smashables
  • Mention on all event-related marketing & promotional materials (printed and on-line)
  • Name and link from the event page on The Scrap Exchange’s web site

For more information about sponsorship, please contact Ann Rebeck, Development Director at

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