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Elephant Coffee Shop closes its doors

One of the feel-good summer stories of Roanoke’s revitalized Main Street has reached an unhappy ending for the city’s citizens.

The Elephant Coffee Shop, whose July 1 grand opening was the culmination of its building’s heralded restoration, has closed it doors.

Susan Powell was the shop’s proprietor and made a series of Facebook posts on the business’s page explaining the reasons behind the decision to shut down. In the first, on Nov. 27, she noted that the rent on the building “is at an amount that The Elephant can’t efficiently run and support itself on our sales.”

Powell apparently sought out alternative locations in an effort to keep the shop open in Roanoke, but on Thursday of last week she made a post notifying customers that the shop was permanently closed.

“We were bought out tonight, and a new location in [Georgia] will be posted shortly,” she wrote. “It happened so fast we didn’t have time to prepare.”

Powell rented the building from owner Wally Gladney, who invested heavily in restoring the elephant building from its run-down and dilapidated condition. The business became a welcome addition to Roanoke, with customers frequently lining up to the elephant’s walk-up window.

“We’re so sad to leave the Elephant, and we pray that whatever business follows us, you will [give them] the same love y’all gave to us. I learned what an amazing town Roanoke is and how much love the people here have…. I will be forever grateful for the things I learned on this journey,” Powell wrote.

Huddle House also closed

Huddle House on Highway 431 in Roanoke has closed its doors as well, but that appears to be a temporary setback for the restaurant.

According to Randolph County Economic Development Authority chairman Bryant Whaley, Huddle House ran into a significant staffing problem and had to shut down. But the restaurant’s owner told Whaley that those staffing issues should be resolved, and the restaurant has a goal of re-opening on December 20.

Whaley offered a reminder of the importance of keeping holiday dollars in the county as much as possible.

“It is now more important than ever to shop and support our local merchants,” he said. “Remember them when you want to go to Auburn, Oxford or LaGrange.”

Elephant building

Wally Gladney has spent nearly seven months and over $100,000 restoring the former elephant service station and turning it into a coffee shop. The Elephant Coffee Shop had it ribbon cutting on Thursday after opening for business on July 1.

Joe Graben selling produce at the elephant service station

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