Sunday, June 23, 2024

Green shoots: Robbins in Moore County benefits from an investing family

Terri Holt’s downtown hotel signals renewed interest in a Moore County textile town.

When Terri Holt’s family purchased several storefronts a few years ago in the heart of Robbins, there were many voids that the small town in northern Moore County needed to be filled. So Holt’s family took on the challenge.

The business properties have turned into a tavern, coffee shop, license plate agency and bakery to revitalize the downtown area, but one necessity was missing. After four years of off-again, on-again work, lodging at Solomon’s Inn is now an option in Robbins for the first time in several decades.

“There was just a general need for it and we needed to do something with this building when we were renovating it,” Holt says. “It was necessary to bring people here for them to stay. Nobody can stay anywhere in town.”

Named after Holt’s grandfather, Solomon Cornelius Stewart, a lifelong resident who passed away in 1958, the 2,400-square-foot space is the newest storefront to reopen on the main road passing through Robbins.

Until recently, Moore County’s growth had largely bypassed Robbins, which relied on textiles for generations. The town of about 1,200 people is a 30-minute drive north of Pinehurst. The downtown storefronts owned by the Holt family have brought foot traffic back, and local leaders are optimistic about an unnamed company that’s eyeing a vacant industrial site.

“Certain businesses will fit our area. We take pride in being a blue-collar town that wants people to have skills and go to work, whether that’s high-end technical or medium skill,” Town Manager Clint Mack says. 

Now those business prospects will have a place to stay when they visit.  Robbins has been the center of a lodging desert of sorts. Holt had heard stories of visitors in the past looking for a place to stay.

“For people that have weddings, funerals, people that don’t want family staying with them, anything like that, it’s needed out here,” he says.

Solomon’s Inn offers three private rooms — two have a king bed — but the most frequently occupied room is the largest of the three, with two queen beds. The rooms and lobby are furnished with antique furniture that Holt’s family had stored away.

Holt points to the couch in the lobby and recalls the past Christmases of visiting her grandmother in Robbins to see gifts for her and her sibling placed in the seat.

The building was formerly home to a Western Auto parts store. It  is known for its open brick wall with a mural of NASA astronaut and Robbins native Charles Brady Jr. Four years of construction delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other obstacles led to the inn’s delayed opening in October.

A stone’s throw from the renovated train depot and the green space and a few steps down the sidewalk from Simply Coffee and Middleton Street Bake Shop, Solomon’s Inn finds itself in a centralized location for many visitor attractions.

“I just feel like people will come here, especially with Foothills Outdoors and things like that. If someone is looking to do that, or go to the zoo or do pottery things, they can do a whole trip,” Holt says, referring to a local nonprofit that promotes outdoor activities. “It’s 30 minutes from Pinehurst and 30 minutes from Asheboro.”

Word spread quickly through town once the inn opened. Two women from Graham stopped at the fire department to ask if there were any lodging places in town. The firefighters pointed to the new neighbors.

“Everybody knows everybody,” Holt says, scanning the guest sign-in list with visitors’ names that included hometowns from across the state, as well as Texas and New York. “I’ve got good thoughts about where Robbins is going.”

The 2022 dedication of a new mural of Robbins’ softball heroes, twins Ron and Don Marley.


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