The name Dodge City conjures images of the wild, wild West.
“But also in Dodge City, there was law and order. Matt Dillion kept law and order,” said Terre Holloway, co-owner of the Dodge City Market on Main Street in Duffyfield.
On a recent week day, he was showing a visitor the signs on the front door and window – “Welcome and Respect” above and below a star; and “Without vision the people perish” …Dream.
A woman walking by told him there were two strangers in a pickup truck in the back parking lot.
Holloway, a retired bail bondsman, shook his head. He suspected drugs – sellers or buyers on the prowl.
He walked around the building and after a few quiet words, the truck drove away in the direction leading out of Duffyfield.
In about two-and-a-half years, Dodge City has become more than just a place to buy convenience items.
Holloways has dedicated it to being a safe place and public service outlet for underserved predominately African American neighborhoods that comprise Duffyfield.
He said that from its inception, the vision for Dodge City was not to be just a corner market store, but a place where people can come, get information and a friendly, reassuring voice.
From small beginnings with projects for community children and families, he began to form partnerships with local groups that help people.
Holloway said he was inspired by God more than two years ago to start the store, while the community was still reeling from Hurricane Florence. He was joined in the venture by his cousin David Woodby.
“We started it to put back into the community, so neither one of us has taken any money out of the store,” he said. “It was a struggle, a big struggle, but we put the money back into the store.”
Holloway moved to New Bern to settle in 1994 and after retirement, he had an epiphany.
“I don’t know how much you believe in God, but I was led by the Holy Spirt to open this store,” he said. “I’m following directions. God has inspired me to do some things and that is what I am doing.”
Goal is to return o ‘good times’
The store’s name has historical significance, which Holloway understands to have dated back to the 1950s or 1960s, which was a time of jobs and home building in the post-World War II boom,
“That’s what it was called back in the day, when I guess it was good times,” he said. “The name was so that the older people could understand that whoever was in the store knew a little bit of history about Duffyfield.”
The name alone attracted older residents when it opened.
As the adults approved of the new business, young people became regulars.
Holloway began working with children one-on-one.
“Right when COVID hit and the kids couldn’t get to school, a couple of kids came in, had different problems. I noticed that some of the kids couldn’t count money well, that’s how it really started,” he said. “So, I started by teaching kids how to count their money. After helping them, some of the other kids would come in, ‘Mr. Terre, can you help me with my stuff? I’m not good a multiplication.'”
So, he made multiplication cards that he now keeps under the counter.
A customer friend gave him a small wooden table and it is now the centerpiece for teaching sessions.
“And they all started really improving, so we just kept it going,” he said. “Anything that a kid would need, they come in and ask me about it. We would sit down at this table and break it down.”
Small store offers community aid
There are but a few small stores these days in the Duffyfield area, with Chapman Grocery on Garden Street and two others – one on Roundtree Street and the largest being in Five Points.
Dodge City carries basic daily items people pick up at a convenience store.
“At least once a week, vegetables get dropped off here – either Ethel Sampson gives them to me or people donate and I give it out to the people,” Holloway said.
The store has evolved into a community center for information.
“So, Dodge City has partnered with some of the community assistance groups,” Holloway said. “We noticed that some people couldn’t get all the way out to places like NCWorks, so we partnered with places like that and asked them to come to the store.”
NCWorks, for instance, sends someone by weekly.
“If they have any job opportunities available, or any new news about anything, I share it with the people,” he said.
The partnerships have worked well enough that he has a small information section near the door.
“People are getting used to that little box over there,” he said.
He said one partnership began when a woman with The Volt Center came by the store and they began talking. He formed a contact for information.
“A lot of people coming through the store have ended up going to the Volt Center, probably over 50 or 60 people,” Holloway said. “You can get training; you can get a job. That’s what Dodge City is trying to do with the store, help people get employed, get schooling, whatever they need.”
Some other contact partners include the Duffyfield Residents Council, Pembroke community, New Bern People’s Assembly, Abundant Life Community Services, Advance Carolina, New Bern Redevelopment Commission, Ashley E. Hill Health Initiative, Zeno Lodge No. 23, First Missionary Baptist Church and Habitat for Humanity of Craven County.
“We are working in the community with Antionette Boskey and the People’s Assembly on having our own agenda as a community,” Holloway added. “We can’t keep being told what to do. We have to start making our own agendas.”
Family ties brought Holloway back
Holloway isn’t just a Duffyfeld businessman, he lives on Goldsboro Street.
He’s a Connecticut Yankee by birth, spending many summers in New Bern.
“I didn’t grow up in Duffyfield, but my grandmother Alberta Holloway lived here, so I used to come here to my grandmother’s house,” Terre said. “I saw a lot of things coming down here in the summers.”
Duffyfield was the birthplace of his father Terry Holloway, who left New Bern early in life. He now lives in New York, but often visits his son Terre (Terrence).
He should be proud.
His son’s Dodge City Market offers a lot more than sodas and canned goods.
Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or 252-259-7585, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook at Charlie Hall.
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