On Wednesday, September 9, the Sandhills Woman’s Exchange at 15 Azalea Road will be reopening for the Fall 2020 season. The SWE, housed in an historic 1810 cabin, closed on March 14 due to the COVID-19 virus. During these past months, the cabin Board members have been working steadily on plans to safely continue operations according to the Governor’s guidelines.
Prior to this pandemic, our local Sandhills Woman’s Exchange was one of only 20 exchanges remaining in the United States. The first exchange opened in 1832, the Philadelphia Ladies Depository followed by the second in 1856, the New Brunswick Depository. Both joined the National Federation of Exchanges in March of 1934 as a way for women to augment their family’s income through handmade items for consignment sale. Therefore, our national mission statement has always been ‘Helping Others Help Themselves.” Sadly, four of the National Federation of Woman’s Exchanges have been forced to close due to the pandemic, including those in Baltimore, MD.; Sherman, TX.; Little Silver, N.J.; and West Reading, PA. The oldest woman’s exchange is in Brooklyn, N.Y. These Woman’s Exchanges represent one of the oldest, continuously operating voluntary movements in the United States.
These past few months, the non-profit SWE has installed a new roof and skylight. The funds to accomplish the repairs and improvements were acquired from the very successful ‘Tea Time on the Train’ an event sponsored with the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western Railway Company on December 8, 2019. Additional funds were collected from an SWE sponsored Yard Sale in July.
For the September 9 reopening date, the SWE Board met with the Pinehurst Fire Department to determine the new fire code capacity for the gift shop and café. Reflecting those recommendations, no reservations will be taken for the Cabin Café but guests will be seated on a first come first served basis. Lunch hours are from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. With a total number of 16 diners, the café will only allow a maximum of 6 per table. A total of 10 guests in the gift shop will be allowed. Masks will be required to enter the cabin for the Gift Shop and Café until seated at a table. A plexiglas shield has been installed at the volunteer gift shop cashier area. All staff and volunteers will be wearing masks. Extensive cleaning has been done during August and will continue to be a top priority throughout this fall season.
The popular ‘Lunch n’Learn’ programs have also been revised for safety, convenience and fun. We will be meeting outdoors, social distancing 6 feet apart on Thursday, October 8th. Faye Dasen of The Pilot will be our guest speaker. ‘The 100 Year History of The Pilot’ and stories of what went on in the Sandhills over the last 100 years will be the topic. Plan on bringing your lawn chair and join the conversation at 10 a.m. at Cav Peterson’s garden. A special Chef Katrina box lunch is included. Participation is $25 pp and reservations/directions may be made by calling the Cabin at 910-295-4677. Rain date will be Thursday, October 15.
New Board members for the 2020-2021 year are: Barb Summers, President; Barbara Keating, 1st Vice-President; Dolores Muller, 2nd Vice-President; Rosemary Zuhone, asst. programs; Anne Wright, Treasurer; Yvonne Gale, Recording Secretary; Patti Talton, Corresponding Secretary; Faith Clay and Mary Glass, Volunteer Waitresses; Marie Carbrey, Membership Chair; Mary Rocca, Volunteer Gift Shop; and Judie Wiggins, Communications Team. Advisors to the SWE for this coming year include: Cav Peterson, Joyce Reehling, Ron Rhody, Jim Wiltjer, Jesse Wimberley, Amanda Jakl, Audrey Moriarty and Elizabeth Fisher.
From this Sept. 9 reopening until mid-December, the SWE hours will be Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Cabin Café serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteer opportunities at the cabin include helping in the artisan gift shop, serving as a waitress in the Cabin Café, garden upkeep, and kitchen helper. For more information, call 910-295-4677, check out our website at www.sandhillswe.org and of course, our Facebook page.