WEST JEFFERSON — In honor of Sharpe Shoemaker’s contributions to the town of West Jefferson during his life, community members gathered in Boondocks Brewing Tap Room and Restaurant for the dedication of the Sharpe Shoemaker Belk Room.
The ceremony was held on Saturday, July 20, with more than a dozen community members, family members and former employees of Sharpe Shoemaker congregating in the newly named dining room of Boondocks Brewing — formerly known as the Belk Room.
Gary Brown, owner of Boondocks Brewing, said that he was approached by West Jefferson Alderman Stephen Shoemaker, son of Sharpe Shoemaker, along with his siblings, with an interest in hanging a photo of their father in the Belk Room of Boondocks Brewing.
After hanging the picture, Brown said that he decided he wanted to do more to honor the memory of the former owner of the building that Boondocks Brewing now resides in.
“It’s just too special,” Brown said. “So today, what we’re doing is officially dedicating this room as the Sharpe Shoemaker Belk Room.”
Sharpe Shoemaker managed Belk’s Department Store in downtown West Jefferson between 1937 and 1968, which operated out of the same building that now houses Boondocks Brewing.
Along with contributing the town’s economy, Sharpe Shoemaker’s family in attendance said that he was an active member of the community, being a founding member of Ashe County’s Rotary Club and serving as a volunteer firefighter, among other contributions to the community.
During the dedication, those who knew Sharpe Shoemaker, including friends, family and former employees, all shared fond memories of him.
In the time between Belk’s Department Store and Boondocks Brewing, several other businesses resided in the historic building. Brown said that after opening his business in 2012 and purchasing the building in 2017, preserving its history has been of utmost importance to him and his wife, Debbie Brown.
“This is a very special town — this is a very special community and a very special building to us,” Brown said. “We’re the next generation of custodians to preserve this.”