Being born in the Midwest in the early 1960’s gives me a little different view on everyday life. In the Midwest, farming is our greatest commodity—and in Illinois, that is predominantly corn. (Note: The “s” is NOT pronounced at the end of Illinois.) You learn to work with corn, you learn to eat corn, you learn to appreciate corn, and you learn to have festivals honoring corn, just to scratch the surface. Some folks also learn to make their living from corn. You know how in this part of the country, it is referred to as the “Bible Belt?” Well, where I come from is referred to as the “Corn Belt.” When you look out across the horizon of almost any rural (and some not-so-rural) towns in Illinois, as far as the eye can see, are corn fields. Nothing but corn fields. It was a great childhood–living in the Midwest–but if I never see another corn field again, it will be ok.
In 1988, I married my husband, Scott Murkin, and we left Illinois to begin our trek to the south. We moved to Nashville, Tennessee for Scott to attend Vanderbilt University Medical School. During our four years living in Nashville, there was one time that we had the opportunity to come over to North Carolina for a three-day vacation. It was during this three day visit to North Carolina when we both KNEW that we wanted to settle and live in this state after the medical school years were over. Knowing this, Scott applied for a Duke residency, which he was awarded, and he was placed at a teaching hospital (Cape Fear Valley Hospital) in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His residency lasted three years. After that, we needed to find a town to settle in for him to begin practicing medicine. After exploring lots and lots of communities in many towns around the state, we whole-heartedly selected Asheboro as the town we wanted to settle in and raise our kids (Alyssa and Grant) and begin establishing our new “roots” for the rest of our lives. We moved to Asheboro in June of 1995.
Since arriving in Asheboro, Scott has worked in medicine, I homeschooled our two kids for thirteen years, and we have all been very involved in the community in many ways. Relationships begun in churches, the homeschooling community, the NC Cooperative Extension Services, the Friends of the Library, the NC Zoo Society, the Randolph Arts Guild, RSVP Community Theatre, Randolph Youth Theatre Company, and during my years on CUOC’s Board of Directors have blossomed into lifelong friendships that sustain us individually and as a family.
As it goes, the years kept zooming along. By the time my youngest was graduating from our homeschool high school, I knew it was my turn to get to try doing something that was going to be for me! In 2012, we bought the beautiful property at the corner of Worth and Cox streets that has historically been known as “The Ross House.” In early 2013, I opened Brightside Gallery—a “homestyle” shop to represent beautiful things made by area artists. In early 2014, I started another company—Carriage House Tea—which is housed within Brightside Gallery. Having obtained the Federal Trademark for Carriage House Tea has allowed me to launch it on a national platform and to partner with Marlo Francis, the CEO and founder of Di’Lishi Frozen Yogurt. Besides selling the loose leaf tea at the gallery, Carriage House Tea is now being served in many ways throughout the whole chain of Di’Lishi franchises in many states.
Living in an incredibly loving and supportive town like Asheboro has allowed me to see my husband make a difference in a lot of lives; raise and homeschool my children in a positive environment; plus open not one, but two businesses. And it has given me the opportunity to watch another dear friend (Marlo Francis) receive the same kind of support from this town, which then allows us to do what we are working on together: Doing things to make Asheboro proud. From the bottom of my heart, I say: “Thank you, Asheboro!”