More than a Market

Rome’s/J&M Content Block 5

Both John and Mildred fought for racial and social justice in the broader community.  Mildred McLaurin, who was active in the Burlington chapter of the NAACP, included her children in meetings and events as a way to build their self-confidence and pride. Mildred helped organize dances, speakers, and fashion shows in which Judy and her sister, Carolyn, modeled.  


Burlington Free Press, May 7, 1973


Over the years, John’s investment in rental properties in Burlington strengthened the family’s financial security and opened his eyes to the issue of homelessness in the city. He provided rooms or apartments for little or no rent to people facing homelessness. He worked on a local level to increase affordable housing in the Old North End. In 2005, he received the Neighborhood Improvement Award for his work to provide “stability and hope” for people. He fought for this issue throughout his lifetime as a businessman and entrepreneur.


It was just the way he was. He always told us to be kind to the less fortunate, because there was a thin line, a very thin line between them and us. At any given time we can be in that position and what you put out, you will get back. That’s what he told us. —Judy McLaurin, current owner and daughter of founders Mildred and John McLaurin


Issues like racism and homelessness have not disappeared, but Judy feels the neighborhood has changed for the betterBurlington’s Community and Economic Development Office provides technical and financial support. It works with small business owners to revitalize the North Street commercial corridor and with homeowners, landlords, and tenants to upgrade and expand housing. At a grassroots level, residents work to strengthen community engagement and pride. It translates into a more supportive community of customers and staff at J & M.