When I grow up: Zoe wants to own a store

Zoe Stephens

“When I grow up, I want to own a store so I can make lots of money so I can buy stuff for my kitchen because I like cooking with my mom,” said 6-year-old Zoe Stephens. She wants the kind of store that sells toys and food and everything people need.

For as long as she can remember, Sharon Roberson has wanted to be a store owner, specifically, a thrift store owner. She said she has always enjoyed yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores. They are more fun to her than Disney World. Nothing pleases her more than finding a bargain, especially if that bargain is something she knows someone needs. Often she buys things with certain people in mind, and she said she struggles sometimes with the idea of taking money for these things.

Because she has COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, her lungs have given her trouble for years. They were constantly collapsing. Often she would develop a hole in her lung. Her doctor told her if she did not stop smoking, she was going to die — maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow — but she was going to die soon. She said her oldest daughter was expecting a baby, her first grandchild, and she decided she wanted to live to see him, so she finally quit smoking in April last year, and that’s when the doctors discovered blood clots on her lungs. After undergoing surgery in which she ended up with over 535 internal stitches, Mrs. Roberson decided it was time to begin working on her “Bucket List.”

Lake Okeechobee News/ Cathy Womble
Sharon Roberson in her new store.

She will never experience some of the things on her list now, she said. Things like flying in an airplane, or going to the mountains can’t happen because her lungs would collapse. Those dreams are never going to come true, but there was one dream left on her list she was determined to make happen. She wanted that thrift store. So, a few weeks ago, she rented space in the Fulford Plaza on State Road 70 West, and Sharon’s Hidden Treasures was born. “It started with three black garbage bags,” she said. Although her daughter jokingly accuses her of being a hoarder, she really isn’t because she always gave it all away.

“I’m not dying,” she said, “but all this illness made me think of the Tim McGraw song, Live Like You Were Dying.”

“I went skydiving.
I went Rocky Mountain climbing,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu,
And I loved deeperm And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”,
And he said “Someday I hope you get the chance To live like you were dying.”

“This is a journey for me,” she explained. “This is what makes me get out of bed. I love being a store owner. Nobody can tell me I can’t have my grandbaby here. I get to be the boss.”
To Zoe and any other children out there dreaming of being store owners, she said, don’t wait until you are 49. Life is too short. Live your dream. “I’m living mine.”

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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