When the Eden Center came into being, it was intended to be more than just a retail center. Developers hoped it would also become a gathering place for the community.

That hope came alive this past summer when the center’s gazebo played host to a variety of local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights. Put together by the shop owners and Mountain Arts and Music, a non-profit organization promoting Ogden Valley music, the concerts provided an ideal activity for families on summer evenings.

“Most of the shops stayed open late,” says Athena Steadman, owner of Simply Eden, one of the shops in the center. “People could mingle and come in and out of the shops. Kids would be out playing on the lawn and doing cartwheels and dancing. It was just a great family atmosphere.”

The summer of 2017 marked the first year that all of the shops in Eden Center were up and running, Steadman said. Located on 2162 N. Highway 62 in Eden, the center includes Steadman’s Simply Eden, which sells made-in-store goat milk soap, lotion and other bath and body products, along with other locally made and unique gifts; JuJu’s Kitchen and Bake Shop, which specializes in food featuring organic produce, pastries and baked good, coffee, espresso and smoothies; Ogden Valley Pizza, which makes handmade, fresh pizza; Red Bicycle Flowers and Gifts, which sells unique flower arrangements, fresh flowers and gifts; Eden A La Mode, serving hand-rolled waffle cones and custom shakes; and Saddlebag Saloon, an old-time saloon, where locals love to gather.

The shops are located in small cabins, placed in a semicircle, with the gazebo in the center.

In the coming months, the Eden Center shop owners are planning some activities for Black Friday, as well as visits from Santa, Steadman said. “Over time, we’ll be offering more events.”

The center also is home to a Little Free Library, a nationally known take-a-book, return-a-book free book exchange. The Eden Center Little Free Library is located right next to the gazebo.

“We’ll have people come in and just grab a book and some coffee and read,” Steadman says. “We have a good mix of businesses and there is a general good feeling here, and the atmosphere lends itself to bringing the community together.”

The development of Eden Center four years ago came at a perfect time for Steadman, who began Simply Eden in her basement in 2008. A local store where she had sold her products was closing, so she began looking for a retail location and came upon Eden Center in her search. It’s been the perfect fit, she says.

“We’re a small community,” she says. “People here seem to want to have these unique little shops owned by valley residents. There’s a whole worldwide movement to support local businesses and shop local. In this little center, there are a lot of unique offerings for this.”

In addition to her own products, Steadman sells other locally made goods. She sells pottery made by local artist Kevin Parson, jewelry by Ashley Stoddard and products from Eden-based Lavender Hill. In addition she has a large glass display case in front of the store dedicated to selling Chocolat Artisan Confections, which are produced in Ogden.