Switching careers can be a daunting but for George Swingler, it was a way to stay engaged before settling into retirement.
For Swingler, it’s time to settle. After 33 years of operating Charlottesville’s Rose Hill Market, he will close the store on Friday, July 29.
Prior to shopkeeping, Swingler served with the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office for more than 25 years.
The business idea came to him during a conversation with a friend about staying busy after leaving law enforcement. A week later, bought the store.
“I didn’t what to tell my wife at the time what I did,” Swingler said jokingly.
Now, Swingler plans to spend time with his grandkids and working in his garden.
“They [grandkids] just want me to just hang around and do some stuff with them,” he said.
Swingler said in his 33 years shop keeping what he enjoyed the most was his customers.
“When you get good customers, they motivate you to stay. I had a lot of dedicated clientele and that’s what made it successful,” he said.
The everchanging Rose Hill neighborhood will not only lose a 5-star Google rated grocery but the glue that helped hold the community together, neighbors say.
Rose Hill resident Scott Wiley said Swingler helped make sense of the community, something Wiley hasn’t seen in other places.
“He certainly made you feel like an individual, Wiley said. “Sometimes those little five-minute conversations made you feel like you belong, and that’s what he did.”
Jeffery Tyler, a longtime friend of Swingler’s, praised him for being honest and fair and treating everyone the same.
“I think he did a great job of serving the people and when he closes the store that will be greatly missed,” Tyler said.