My Turn, Caitlin Mauldin: Imagine what else is possible by helping Main Street Marketplace

Published 8:40 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021

By Caitlin Mauldin

One hour and 38 minutes — That’s how long it took for me to realize the impact of Main Street Marketplace. 

Her name is Hope and, well, how appropriate? Her warm and gracious demeanor creates a sense of safety. I opened up to her more than I have with my own family in years. In that short amount of time, vulnerability became a welcomed, safe haven.  

Hope Oliphant’s organization is a safe haven for many. There’s affordable fresh produce and meats, workshops and meetings for all walks of life and an annual Christmas Store that allows parents to buy toys with dignity. The concept that Main Street has been able to achieve is no less than remarkable. Dignity is a part of their main value, and that dignity is the reason why people choose Main Street Marketplace.  

While speaking with Hope and getting to know more about her and Main Street, a gentleman came in to buy groceries. She decided to share a part of his story as well as a few others who’ve been impacted by this organization.   

The shopper in the past may have wished his life away with alcohol, and quite possibly felt complete despair because of it.   Though in present time, he is seen wearing an infectious smile, determined for happiness, and exuberant in his sobriety.  Another man, once incarcerated, had very few options to prevail as a member of society. He is now thriving in his own business that helps others live in wellness. In between sharing stories and parts of our lives, a young woman walked in with a child who was less than 2 years old. Prior to meeting Hope, this young lady had been living in her car, pregnant and unsure of what her future would be as a single mother. Today, she is a confident and tenacious woman, with a flourishing, on-the-rise business and a home to raise her child in.  

These are the people in our community. These are the ones far too many others judge and discourage. When the systems in place have only hindered success, these individuals (plus many more) have found their way through it — to not let it define them. It’s because they had somewhere to go, someone to listen to them and effective help. This is our community and to me, this is what it means to live and love.

What do you do when the odds are truly stacked against you? Well, I can tell you somewhere you can go for advice, help or just a shoulder to cry on. Somewhere that offers free resources, tools, workshops and meetings that genuinely encourage you to succeed. People encourage you. The same people have beaten the odds, faced their fears (perhaps with hesitation), but they’ve continued to show up, share, learn and adapt. Hope expressed to me with unwavering conviction that Main Street Marketplace wouldn’t exist without those people. 

I believe Main Street Marketplace has embodied the strength of the participants, the compassion of Hope and the benevolence of all the others who’ve helped bring this concept to fruition. I’m not sure what the future holds for this incredible organization. Though, I firmly believe in the depths of my soul it is vital to this community and, more importantly, our faith in humanity.  

One hour and 38 minutes is all it took for me to realize the impact that is Main Street Marketplace. Can you imagine, for just a moment, if we all spent some time there and the differences we can make in our own lives and others? 

I’m just an everyday person who spent a fraction of my time learning about this humble organization. But that fraction of time has encouraged me to be more and to do more. I hope my writing can encourage just one person to be involved with Main Street Marketplace. We as a community, society, brothers and sisters, can invoke real change and impact. All we have to do is ask, “How can I help?” 

If you’d like to see how you can make an impact, Main Street Marketplace is located in China Grove. Its website and social media pages are regularly updated. It’s always looking for growth.  

You can choose to shop at the market, be an advocate and get the word out, donate to their annual Christmas store or provide monetary donations. All of these can go a long way in helping our neighbors and I hope my community wants to be the change they want to see in the world. 

To learn more, visit

Caitlin Mauldin lives in Granite Quarry and is a mother to three adorable fire starters.