While working on Wednesday afternoon, news spread quickly about Heaven’s Scent closing on June 27, and I made it a point to finally try what the locals called a little slice of bliss before they closed their doors. While they did not disappoint, this will not be your average food review.
On the first day I started working for The Tribune, my coworkers told me I had to try Heaven’s Scent off Standard Street in Elkin. Unfortunately, I already had a lunch packed that day, and decided I’d go another day. The name admittedly slipped my mind until last week, when Sly the barber across the street told me to meet up with him for an interview. Something came up that Sly wasn’t able to meet up with me, and I was thwarted from the delicious taste that was about to hit me like a train.
I finally stopped in Wednesday afternoon to the little shop on the corner. On my walk there, I saw an abandoned lumber shop and two other businesses that appeared to have closed their doors. If things don’t change soon, the catering company and restaurant will join those in the cast of small businesses gone too soon.
The moment I walked in, I could tell why Heaven’s Scent was a hot-spot for the locals and a popular spot for tourists, some in other countries. The warm atmosphere was as inviting as the two staff members by the door who were there to greet me. I had heard great things about their dessert menu, and opted for the Peach Sonker.
I spent a couple years of my childhood in a semi-urban Pennsylvania town much like Elkin, and outside of the main street lied a little shop that didn’t get a lot of business until the summertime, when the peaches were in season. People would flock to the shop to try their homemade peach ice cream.
Around these parts, I’m what most locals would call a yankee. If any yankee is also out there who can sympathize with me when I didn’t know what sonker was, feel free to reach out. For those who don’t know what sonker is, it’s another word for pie or cobbler.
When the sonker arrived, the aroma was so strong and tempting that I plain forgot to take a picture of it before it was gone. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, the peaches took me back to those days at the little shop on the corner. The texture of the pie, mixed with the cinnamon spice made it so every bite was better than the last. In many ways, Elkin’s Heaven’s Scent is that little shop on the corner. Despite the locals and tourists alike giving it love, the small business is suffering a brutal fate for the workers who love what they do.
Elkin claims that its economy is growing, and if that’s really the case, it’s leaving small businesses like Heaven’s Scent behind. When I first walked on East Main Street, I saw a glimpse of the heartbeat of America. There are local businesses left and right, but there is a problem that I believe is going on with this town and surrounding region. Fast-food restaurants get celebrated for looking a little bit more like a bistro when they’re still serving processed burgers and fries. Meanwhile, dedicated workers who make real food are not truly embraced like they should. It’s honestly disgraceful.
There isn’t any stopping big business. Some road trips call for the quick and easy food that a drive-thru can provide, and if we’re being realistic, it’s a significant detour to stop in historic Elkin. Why else would someone stop by Heaven’s Scent, Royall’s Speed Shoppe, Speedy Chef, or John Boy’s if not for word of mouth or stellar reviews on Trip Advisor or Yelp?
That’s where this town needs to step in and create more opportunities for local businesses to thrive, because if the town continues to let local businesses like Heaven’s Scent shut down, removing dedicated workers from the town in place of burger flippers who want ungodly pay, then we’re losing the local touch that this town has.
Ryan DeCosta is a sports reporter for the Tribune and Yadkin Ripple. If you would like a food review or voice your opinion, you can reach Ryan DeCosta at firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-258-4052, or via Twitter @rsdecosta.