ALBEMARLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – It’s an unassuming storefront, right off of King Street in Albemarle. To a stranger, it’s easily overlooked, but for those who know, it’s a sweet and special place in town.

“I’m the clown,” laughed Shawn Oke.

No, Shawn is not Willy Wonka, but rather a cookie connoisseur and owner of the ‘Albemarle Sweet Shop.’

“I don’t get sick of sweets, like I said,  it’s a constant battle to not grab every cookie,” said Shawn.

The bakery opened in 1921 and they’ve been serving the same cookies and cakes for generations.

“I thought fire chief was more important to the community, but honestly my job as a bakery owner is more important to the community,” said Shawn.

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While they still follow the same recipe book, Albemarle is rewriting ab it.

“In the past three years I think we’ve seen more growth and change as a community than we have the previous 30,” said Shawn.

Though the population has grown slightly, there’s a new appetite in Albemarle for the small, historic textile town to bring in some big city amenities.

“Yeah, this is the first business I’ve opened,” said Colton Baker.

Colton is opening the city’s first brewery, Uwharrie Brewing,  in the old fire station next to city hall.

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“They said, we’re not using the old firehouse anymore and it was just perfect, it had everything I needed,” said Colton.

The sweet shop is also moving to a main street spot, one that won’t be so tucked away.

“Making sure that we preserve that is so important to me,” said Shawn, who plans to include pieces of the historic shop in the new one.

As change comes, there’s still an effort to keep Albemarle just like it was. Small, special, but slightly more seen.