EDEN, N.C. — Sip coffee while knowing that you are helping the animals of Rockingham County.
That’s the idea behind Friends of Eden Animal Rescue’s brick-and-mortar coffee shop set to open after a generous donor gave the non-profit a location.
More than 60 years ago, Raymond Uden opened Uden Shoe Center at 242 The Boulevard in Eden, but in 2012 the doors closed for good.
Now a retired local businessman, Uden decided it was time for his closed shops to go to good use and donated the sites of Uden Shoe Center and Blackwell Music Store to the non-profit.
Uden told the Friends, “I was aware they were looking for a location for a thrift store that would help ease the burden of their constant fundraising. I was also consumed by what to do with my stores. My wife and daughter have passed away and there was no one really to leave them to and I did not want to see the buildings deteriorate and stand vacant any longer than necessary.”
“This really was an answer to my prayers,” he said.
Lori Lowrimore, director of the Friends of Eden Animal Rescue, said this donation was an incredible gift from an equally incredible man.
“I got a little teary-eyed, if you want the truth,” Lowrimore said, in a news release. “People helping animals — that’s what it’s all about.”
The Friend plans for the cafe to be a place where people can come drink coffee, enjoy pastries and know their helping the animals of the community. Proceeds will go to support rescue efforts.
Throughout the summer, the Friends will work to renovate the spaces into a cafe and thrift shop.
Renovations began in earnest on Wednesday, and on Thursday, the rescue announced that, while cleaning up the store, they found hundreds of pairs of shoes, some dating as back as the 50s. With Uden’s permission, they have made plans to sell them at a “Retro Shoe Sale” on June 29 and 30 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Working as hairdressers, dental hygienists, project managers, educators, child nutritionists, city employees, finance managers and more, this small but mighty group of animal rescuers wants to prevent as many unnecessary euthanizations as possible,” Uden said. “There could be no greater gift that I could make.”