I love it when I meet people who are living their dream and helping others while doing so.
Terry Henner, owner of Cool Bees on Hwy. 9, across from Midway Elementary, is one such person.
Terry was a stay-at-home mother to four children for many years. Then, after 23 years of marriage, Terry found herself divorced and facing a tough economy and an even tougher job market.
“I do have a business degree, but one month after I graduated from college I gave birth to our first child and we decided I would stay home.”
While Terry has no regrets about raising her children, ages 17-25, she said when she first looked at the job market, she felt overwhelmed.
“Being out of the work force for that long really forces you to do some soul searching.”
After much thought, Terry decided to open a custom framing shop. After learning the trade, Terry set up shop in her home.
“I had no customers at first, and I really started envisioning something bigger, something to do with artists.”
An artistic person herself, Terry said she has always been creative and an admirer of art. “I was always into doing crafty things, with the children and just things around the house.”
A self-taught quilter, Terry also paints and does numerous other “crafty” things. Her vision began to come together.
“I began thinking how I love to shop small. I love tiny stores that have unique things inside,” she said. “For eight years, I have lived and shopped in the general five-mile radius area by Midway Elementary and I thought it was the perfect spot for the shop I wanted.”
After she found the house which would become her shop and signed a lease, there was no going back.
Once home to a landscaping company, the location was a major project. Almost completely by herself, Terry worked from early in the morning until often after midnight to transform and elevate the house to its own status, a standing piece of art.
Overflowing with eclectic items all made by local artists, the shop is like a whimsical museum. Everything from jewelry to candles, to furniture and original paintings and sculptures, there is something for everybody.
In addition, there’s also an art studio where customers can take art lessons or rent the space and have a place to paint by themselves.
Terry said she hopes one day to have a live music venue on site.
“Art makes you feel good; I always wanted to create a place that people love to shop in and makes them feel good while doing so,” she said. “I am so excited to bring that small town, creative shop-feel to Forsyth County, while helping to spotlight local artists and their craft.”
On April 28, Cool Bees will hold its inaugural Spring Arts Festival, which will have local artists’ work on display for sale.
So far, Terry has about 50 artists coming to showcase their creations. There will also be food and live music.
“I have always had a vision for a venue for artists to display and sell their work to the public,” she said.
Terry said after all she’s been through, she feels blessed to be in the place she is, both mentally and physically.
“So many people in the community have embraced me, I feel so lucky.”
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.