Raleigh-Durham Promotional Products
When choosing Raleigh-Durham promotional products, don't limit yourself to the Starbucks skyline mug. Think creatively about how you can convey the culture of North Carolina's Research Triangle. Below is a guide, written by a long-time resident of the area, to visiting and living in North Carolina's beautiful Piedmont cities, in hopes that you will shop for Raleigh-Durham souvenires -- and perhaps some Chapel Hill ones as well -- like a true native.
Raleigh-Durham: A Misnomer
Right off the bat you need to know that Raleigh-Durham imprinted items don't exist. That is to say, Raleigh-Durham is not the name of any city in existence. It is the name used to refer to two cities, Raleigh and Durham, which are located very close geographically. We'll use the term Raleigh-Durham to keep things simple in this article. In actuality, however, people who live in Raleigh are unlikely to venture into Durham and vice versa. Raleigh people think Durham is dirty and crime-ridden. Whenever Raleighites gaze over the city line into Durham County at the tall smoke stacks and abandoned textile mills, they tend to shudder and quickly return to the Wake County suburban lawn they are tending. Meanwhile Durhamians are like, "Whatever. We've got The Pinhook" (an awesome, slightly gritty, bar and venue located in downtown Durham). Your trusty guide, who lived in both Raleigh and Cary for many years, thinks both cities are great and there's no reason why we can't have Raleigh-Durham products that celebrate the distinction symbolized by the tiny hyphen between "Raleigh" and "Durham." Items should look more like a PB&J, with two opposing but complementary elements, than like the nonchalant slash barely separating our old conjoined twin, Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Raleigh-Durham and School Rivalries
You'll find the vast majority of souvenires at the area's local universities: North Carolina State University and Duke University. Contrary to the personalities of their respective cities, Raleigh's N.C. State is home to thousands of down-to-earth aggies, engineers and designers, from rural North Carolina or cities like Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Asheville, Greensboro, or Raleigh suburbs like Cary and Apex, while Durham's Duke University -- notoriously at odds with the surrounding community (see Duke University lacrosse case) -- is a Top 20 destination school with more Long Islanders than Durham natives. Duke, N.C. State, and nearby UNC-Chapel Hill battle throughout the year in a three-pronged, vicious rivalry that will likely never end. On any trip to the area, sports fan or not, you won't escape the Wolfpack Red and Blue Devil Blue of Raleigh-Durham.
Raleigh-Durham and Schoolkids Records
This paragraph will be a plug for your trusty guide's favorite record store of all time and Raleigh-Durham landmark, Schoolkids Records. The store is located on N.C. State's main thoroughfare in southeast Raleigh, Hillsborough Street. Stroll down the road, have a slice of pizza, a beer, a Loco Pop, check out the used books at Reader's Corner and Nice Price Books, then, like someone witnessing history, check out some of those dying relics known as vinyl records and spend some money at Schoolkids. Man, your trusty reader loves that place, and you will too. You can even pick up some free products there, like Schoolkids bumper stickers (see bottom left). For other cool things to do in Raleigh, visit New Raleigh for the latest and hippest goings-on. To get you started, here are some of your trusty guide's favorite spots:
The Pinhook (drinks & socializing), Main Street
The Regulator (local books), 9th Street
Cosmic Cantina (burritos & margaritas), 9th Street
Bean Traders (coffee), 9th Street
Duke Chapel & Gardens (strolling, picnicking, & snapshotting)
Duke Coffee House (live music)
Ed McKay's Used Books, Capital Blvd.
The Third Place (coffee), Glenwood Ave.
Schoolkids Records, Hillsborough St.
The Raleigh Times (local brews & grub), Hargett St.
The Rialto (films), Glenwood Ave.
Cooper's Barbeque, E. Davie
Visual Art Exchange (gallery), Blake St.