The Market at Cedar Point

Enriching the lives of local youth by providing scholarships for extracurricular activities in Cedar Point, NC

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00:03 It's a tough, hard life for the small farmers. And, and it's just really important to us to support these local farmers, uh, and keep them going because the small farmer, they're getting squeezed out.

00:41 Alright Mary and Jeff it's so fun to talk with you, tell us about The Market at Cedar Point.

00:46 We're an organic market. We focus on small farmers, um, small businesses, arts, crafts. And we offer healthy food options that some of our locations just don't have. We started a farmer's market three years ago just so we could provide a space for our local farmers to come and sell. But also for our customer's to meet the people who are growing their food. We don't charge our vendors. A lot of places charge 25, what have you. We don't charge them because it is a symbiotic relationship. When we have a market, a farmer's market, our business actually does well too. 

01:33 I like to say that we're trying to, and working and striving to build a better community through commerce. And not so much putting the commerce first but putting the community first and letting the commerce fall in behind it.

01:51 As I'm listening to you I've just been struck by, what advice would you give your local bankers to help small businesses like yours to be able to thrive and to prosper? Because that's what we're driven to do and hearing your story just really inspires us, so what advice would you give back to us to say - think about these things, focus on these things because they make a difference.

02:15 Cash flow is always a big deal for us, we spend more than we make. I mean, it's always a big deal. I was in the drive-thru at Truist and noticed there was a little kiosk that said 'Hey, personal loans, give us a call'. So I called and said, you know what, I'm getting ready to bounce some checks. It's just here, I'm in trouble, um, what can I do? And immediately, immediately, and it just, I think it was Roman who said 'Oh no, we do personal loans how much do you need?' Um, and uh, that next day I had enough money to cover the checks and do what I needed to do to get us through Thanksgiving, I mean that, in and of itself, you guys, um, have really changed our lives.

Um, and the fact that we go into our bank and everybody says hi to us. I think that is important to a small business, that they feel important. You know, we're not a Fortune 500 company, we don't deposit a ton of money, um, but it doesn't matter to them. They know who we are and they say hi, or ask how big a market do you have this week or do you the elderberry syrup in stock, what do you got going on. Just the conversations we have when we go there, um, will always keep us there. And, you know, maybe that's not with other banks, you know, the other regional banks and so forth but that would be my advice. Get to know your small businesses. 

03:58 And that's really admirable and important, specifically in our small towns because we see that small business are, are really the foundation of a community continuing to not just survive but to thrive.

04:11 I know one of the things you also do, in addition to supporting the local farmers, is support your community in a big way. I understand you're also offering scholarships for people in the community, for children, who have extracurricular activities. Can you speak a little bit about that and what inspired you to do that?

04:30 The way we got started, and I'm going to make this quick, and I won't cry about it, but in 2012 we lost our daughter, my daughter, Jeff's stepdaughter, to a car accident. We had different lives before this, before 2012, and it destroyed us. Her name was Hannah, she was killed in a car accident. I shut down for two years, we lost everything that we had. Jeff had to quit his job to take care of me.

We were struggling, uh, we actually were homeless. And our community stepped up financially, emotionally, spiritually, our community really stepped up big and helped us and we started what's called Hannah's Hope. And that's in memory of Hannah, my daughter. And, uh, what we do with Hannah's Hope is we enrich children's lives in our community. If a child wants to do an extracurricular activity that the parents can't afford, we don't ask questions, we help pay for those extracurricular activities.

05:36 Hannah always wanted to help other people and it all started in middle school and high school. And after she passed we felt that that was probably the best way to honor her was to partner with the schools, partner with different organizations in our community, and try and make a difference with kids getting out and being productive. Whether it's art, whether it's dance, whether it's sports, uh, whatever they want to do and mom and dad can't afford it.

06:15 We don't ever want anybody to feel embarrassed to come and ask for help. For us, it's not about the money, it's about helping and extending a hand and having fellowship.

06:33 What do you think gave you the strength to turn that grief into help within the community, and not just stay in that space of your own reality?

06:44 He wants to answer this

06:47 We put people in our lives and surround ourselves with people that not only do we help but they help us. The vendors that come out, the farmers that come out, just community.

07:01 It's not about us, and we never want to make it about us so it's been, I've been a little nervous talking about our story.

07:10 Mary and Jeff your story is so powerful and touching. I've been a little speechless just listening to this, and it's moved me in a lot of ways.

07:21 I want to just encourage you that it's not at all boastful to inspire other people to follow in your footsteps. You should be sharing this story so we're very glad that you did. And if it's not too bold, I feel like Hannah is saying 'Good job, mamma', like look what you've.

07:40 Yeah, oh yeah.

07:42 Yes ma'am. Thank you. You're not being too bold, um, through Hannah's Hope we are able to share her life, so, you know. That's important to us. If you see the sunflowers everywhere, that's Hannah.