“The current passion for reuse might be explained by sustainability or fashion but, most importantly, it affords a sense of history and texture, taking advantage of buildings already embedded in cities. They are buildings with atmosphere, history, and stories inscribed in their fabric. And sometimes sustainability isn’t just about the energy and materials saved but about the stories, craft and intelligence embodied in its walls.” Paul Miles –The Financial Times
If only the above quotation fit on bumper stickers, I’d hand them out along Main Street and in the adjacent areas. I love the ‘history and texture’ phrase which speaks to the amazing commercial architecture in the downtown core of Rocky Mount. Wonderful things have been going on to save Main Street. Buildings have been bought, architectural drawings have been designed to provide living space above the store, and the City’s facade grants have been awarded. The early doubters, reluctant to get on board who said, “It can’t be done,” are turning around. They are enjoying places like The Mill area and sometimes have to wait for a table at places like The Smokehouse. To prove that things can be done, Kevin McLaughlin is having his grand opening of Larema Coffee September 27th at 6:00 PM. Kevin has not only embraced Rocky Mount’s past, but he is helping to build its future. On his Facebook Page on Aug. 7, 2019, he wrote:
How do we create a space which is truly inclusive of the whole community?
Thankful to have hosted the first of an ongoing conversation about the needs of the Rocky Mount community and how Larema Coffee House can best serve the people of this place. Incredibly honored by the turnout of such thoughtful people with wonderfully diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Many more to come.
ALSO! The physical space is looking beautiful, and feeling warmer & welcoming every day. So look forward to opening soon…stay tuned! ☕️💜
The first time I stood in this space pictured above this is how the ceiling looked. Click Here for a previous blog post about this project. When I see the restoration results of that same area on Kevin’s Facebook post (above) I did my usual thing—I got a little teary, but then I laughed. I thought of Chris Mathew saying Obama gave him a “thrill up my leg.” At the time, I responded with something profound like, “Oh Brother!” Now, if he’d been talking about the beautiful restoration of this bank building reimagined and repurposed — that’s a thrill up our leg! Here is another preservation victory for Main Street. Continuing to believe remains imperative. Let’s add a hug around the neck to all the Kevin McLaughlins working on projects downtown.
Denise Scott said, “Architects can’t force people to connect, they can only plan the crossing points, remove barriers and make the meeting places useful and attractive.”
Kevin McLaughlin and everyone involved has done just that. The old National Bank Building is ready for people to start connecting. Now, *’My Friend’ it’s up to us to enjoy this special space. I’ll see you there! even though I never learned to drink coffee. *Translation of Larema
106 S. Washington Street, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27801