Polished by fire: Salisburians, Blowing Rock community help reopen Take Heart – Salisbury Post

By Susan Shane Turner
The Salisbury Post

BLOWING ROCK – Sherry Foreman has no plans to reopen the 500-square-foot Take Heart, lavender, store on Main Street.

“I just want to quietly open the door,” says Sherry, 60.

Three years ago, on June 26, 2019, an electrical fire broke out in the attic which started the fire. It was the end of the work day. Sherry had just come home and two employees were still there, but no one was hurt.

The store was not only known for its collection of lavender – hence the color – it was also known for its collection of thousands of prayer cards tied to a tree just outside the front door.

Not a single prayer was burned.

Not one.

There were 14,000 places on the day of the fire. When the cards were finally removed, the deck grew to 40,000. Sherry lowered each one in silence, prayed over them, and put them away.

They’ve now mixed in with the foundation and walls of her shop, which means she’s surrounded by prayer.

Also on the walls of her dressing room are lists of donors who helped her open the doors again. Some sherry knows. Some do not.

Matt Vincent, owner of VPC Builders, worked with Sheri on the construction project. “She was in a bad situation and had a bad ordeal,” he says. Vincent works in both residential and commercial construction, usually with much larger projects. For example, he is now in the midst of building a car dealership.

“Sherry has been a family friend for a long time,” he says. “Blowing Rock is a small town. She was wonderful to work with. She was always very positive and believed that God would guide her through this. She had a lot of people making donations – many of them anonymous.”

Sherry Foreman’s renovated store, Take Heart in Blowing Rock, is set to open in a few weeks. picture sent

Her good friends Lynn and Fran Morton of Lexington donated the HVAC system. They own Davidson Heating & Air, Inc. , and they recently bought a home between Boone and Blowing Rock.

“We wanted to help in any way we could,” Fran says. “I’ve never met anyone like Sherry. She is my dearest soul. She never thinks of herself as a giver than a taker. We were so blessed that she allowed us to do this. She is precious. We love her.”

John and Judy Esenhauer, who split their time between Salisbury and Blowing Rock, also contributed to the rebuilding effort.

“We’ve had a home in Blowing Rock forever,” says Jodi. “We are here about 85% of the time, especially during a pandemic. If you are not going to do anything, this is the place.”

Judy has owned Pleasant Papers in Salisbury for 25 years, and also has stores in Blowing Rock and Concord. I retired six years ago.

“I loved every minute of it,” she says. “I don’t miss the stress of running a business, but I miss people.”

She says she can’t imagine going through what Sherry has endured.

She says Jodi has not met Sherry in person. “But her work is very, very unique. It left a huge void when it burned out. I decided we needed to do something to help her. I felt she needed to be here. I know she’s a good person, and we wanted to be involved in getting her back to work.”

John and Judy’s daughter, Crystal Boyd of Cleveland, also contributed to the store and is a huge fan, her mother says. “She is very appreciative of the work.”

Chery is working very hard to reopen its doors. She was hoping to do so this past weekend; Now planning to open next weekend. She says she will celebrate the third anniversary of the fire in some way.

She says, “My store is committed to God.” “We want to love people.”

One way to do this is to open the Garden Sanctuary just a few blocks away on Sunset Drive. It was recently awarded the one-acre site.

“I’m definitely a believer,” notes Sherry. “Faith is not faith unless it has been tested. You have refined me with fire.”

She continues, “This is the story of a restoration, a picture of what restoration looks like. It’s messy, it’s messy, it’s baffling, it’s aloof. Even if you have the proper measures, what do you do in that moment?”

But Sherry got help from everyone at Blowing Rock, apparently.

One of the boys set up a lemonade stand and collected $800. Two boys used their lunch money to buy candy, sold it, and gave their entire profit to Sherry.

“Miss Sherry, will this help?” they asked.

It was $18.

Another girl babysitter contributed.

“I’ve had the most blessing being helped by the community and my Take Heart community,” Sherry says.

When Sherry opens that door, her thoughts will likely be on all the people who helped her get to this point – and that includes the Salisbury group.

“You grow good people there!” she says.

She adds: “Love restores, love restores.”

Susan Shane Turner is the editor of Salisbury Magazine.

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