When the Elks Lodge of Rocky Mount suffered a devastating fire a few years ago, rather than rebuilding, lodge members opted to move to a new location.

Solomon and Nedra Maryland, owners of Solomon Maryland Heating and Air, have given new life to the building in the form of The Sanctum.

The Sanctum, purchased by the Marylands in October 2020, is located at 2750 N. Church St. It was originally going to be used as office spaces for Nedra Maryland’s friends who worked remotely.

“Once we went inside and saw just how much potential the building really had, we couldn’t just dedicate it to only office space,” Solomon said. “It just offered so much more.”

When asked by the Telegram what pushed the Marylands to open a center that could offer the community a place to hold different events, Solomon Maryland said, “We had a lot of outside influence. People really wanted a place to come and enjoy themselves with their friends and families, they wanted to feel like they were at home. Our friends and other community members kept pushing us and pushing us, so we finally relented and haven’t looked back since.”

Nedra Maryland said she is looking forward to utilizing the outside space a bit more.

“I envision that a lot of people will use the outside pavilion for family reunions, barbecues, outdoor birthday parties and weddings,” she said. “Our plan is to eventually add several gazebos so more than one event can take place at any given time.”

Nedra and Solomon said they are proud that there is a special, private place in the facility where people can grieve the loss of loved ones and enjoy a meal after funeral services.

“I know so many people who struggle to find places to have a repast, so we’ve got an excellent room set up just for that,” Nedra said.

While anyone is encouraged to apply for an opportunity to throw a party or host an event, the Marylands made clear that they will be carefully vetting all applications.

“We prefer mature adults, like my wife and I, but we will take every application into account,” Solomon said. “We just want to ensure The Sanctum is a place to enjoy, relax and not a place where people have to worry about fighting, shooting and all of that.”

The Marylands hope to have The Sanctum open during the day, not just during events, where people can come to have coffee, hold business meetings and socialize with friends.

“We want the community to know that we’re here, we’re affordable, and the sky is the limit as to what you can do here,” Nedra said. “When people walk in here, they have their own vision of what they want and make our space their own.”

The Sanctum will have an Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“This building has character and soul, so it’s not like other event centers,” Solomon said.