Ford column: The Ugly Duckling offers one-of-a-kind furniture

  • Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014 12:18 a.m.

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.

Notice about comments: is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Do not post the following:

  • Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
  • Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
  • Personal attacks, insults or threats.
  • The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
  • Comments unrelated to the story.