Ford column: The Ugly Duckling offers one-of-a-kind furniture
SALISBURY — Shane and Laura Benfield named their new business after a fairy tale.
“The name The Ugly Duckling comes from the children’s story about the ugly duck that went on to become a beautiful swan, in much the same way we take old, worn-out items and make them beautiful,” Laura said.
Specializing in vintage and hand-finished home decor, the Ugly Duckling is officially located at 421 B N. Lee St. But the best way to describe its location is behind the Salisbury Emporium at 230 E. Kerr St.
To get there, drive through the Emporium parking lot and arrive at the new shop. If you’re hoofing it through the city’s arts district, The Ugly Duckling and Zinc, another eclectic home furnishings store, serve as book ends for the Rail Walk.
Shane plays a lot of golf. You may recognize his name, because he’s done pretty well in some area tournaments.
Born and raised on Agner Road near Hills Minnow Farm, Shane went to Morgan Elementary, then Erwin Middle, then graduated from East Rowan High School. He moved to Florida for about 10 years and met Laura.
While in Florida, Shane started a property maintenance company that he still owns and operates today in Salisbury. Laura grew up in Cape Cod, Mass.
“Shane always wanted to come back home and my family is also from North Carolina, so I have always felt at home and at peace here,” she said. “So the first chance we got, we jumped at the opportunity to move.”
Married for almost five years, the couple have been back in Rowan County for four years.
“We love it here,” Laura said.
With a strong appreciation for history and good quality, they ventured into the business of vintage and antique furniture and home decor. Older items often are simply built better than their modern counterparts, Laura said.
“We also love to create things and work with our hands,” she said. “Through folk art, through painting, through sanding and cleaning, we try to breathe new life into old pieces.”
They also create things from the ground up using scrap materials when they are not busy parenting Brody, 4, and Tatum, 2.
The Ugly Duckling is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and offers new items at least three time a week, the results of treasure hunting, repurposing and upcycling by Laura and Shane.
The grand opening continues through May 21. To reach the shop, call 704-633-0102.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.