Unwanted Items Fund Medical Scholarships

Donations to thrift store provide support for Duke medical students

Sarah Walker, a manager at the Nearly New Shoppe, sorts through recently donated shirts and coats. The store, which supports medical and nursing scholarships, is seeking additional donations in the next two weeks.
Sarah Walker, a manager at the Nearly New Shoppe, sorts through recently donated shirts and coats. The store, which supports medical and nursing scholarships, is seeking additional donations in the next two weeks.

Duke community members looking to repurpose old clothing and assorted home décor have two weeks to donate items that can be reused by the local community and also support medical and nursing students at Duke.

Through Dec. 3, the Nearly New Shoppe is seeking donations of clothing items, books, jewelry and home goods that range from kitchen appliances to chairs and side tables. The store resells its stock at drastically reduced prices – $1 for neckties and $50 for furniture – to support scholarship funds at Duke’s School of Medicine and School of Nursing. The cutoff date for donations allows for staff to arrange donations and ensure enough time to prepare tax receipts for donors.

 “You can get rid of your stuff, support Duke schools and you’re getting credit for it,” said Sarah Walker, a manager at the store. “The prices we put on things versus what it’d be in a retail store keeps things affordable for everyone.”

Contributions to the Nearly New Shoppe’s endowments in the 2015-2016 fiscal year included $105,000 to the School of Medicine and $60,000 to the School of Nursing. Lifetime donations from the store include more than $800,000 to scholarships and about $5.2 million for endowments. To help increase those numbers, Duke employees and local residents have been recently dropping off up to 1,000 items a week, including shoes and children’s toys.

Throughout the store, racks of men’s and women’s shirts and pants can be found for $5 or less, but shoppers can maximize savings on weekly “Markdown Mondays” when every item leftover from the previous week drops in price, going as low as 25 cents.


The Nearly New Shoppe offers a variety of items, including shoes, clothing, books and more.

“We want to be a part of the ‘green’ movement to recycle and reuse items,” said Ginny Lang, president of the Duke University Medical Faculty Wives, the organization that owns and runs the shop. “We’ve helped to keep a lot out of the landfill.”

To give items to the Nearly New Shoppe, donors can bring clean clothes, household goods and other items to the store between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily except for Wednesday and Sunday, when the store is closed. Drop-offs can be made at the store, which is on the ground level of the Hock Plaza Garage off Pratt Street. Free parking is provided to store visitors. A tax receipt for donations is mailed to donors each January.

Customers at the Nearly New Shoppe can make purchases from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday. For more information about the Nearly New Shoppe, call (919) 286-4597.