Top Customer Robin Swales: 40th Anniversary Celebration
When James Holtom from Salayview Farm nominated the English fellow, Robin, as his Top Customer, I knew exactly who he was talking about! Robin is a customer I have greeted many times on the street, directed to his favourite vendors, and also had long conversations with. James says he always comes for container of Plain Goat Chevre, almost every Market! He appreciates a high quality product made from goats' milk raised on their farm!
Robin comes from Sussex, England, "by the Channel Coast" he says. He came as a young married man of 25 years old. He was offered a post he had not applied for. His first wife and son came over with him. His son is a techy kind of guy who also attends the Markets when he is in town.
He was always a singer, starting at age 7 he did his first solo at a wedding. When he came to Canada he joined every choir he could. He was persuaded to become a conducter, and became the director of the Anglican Cathedral Choir for 11 years. In the year 2000 he was invited to go over to the Holy Rosary Church Choir for 7 years. His second wife is a music teacher, so his volunteer life revolves around music. He is part of the Music Festival Association. He actually taught in six different universities for 44 years as a Professor of History as his profession. His love of music was his passion.
Robin has been coming to Market for almost 30 years, as soon as it moved to various central locations. He says he and his wife eat well. She is an excellent cook, they like eating later evening meals. She has teaching responsibilities. This is good, he says, as they do not do any late night snacking. We talked about the importance of our customers at the Market, how they are the lifeblood of the Market. He immediately thought of how the vendors are the lifeblood too.
He said that the vendors are extraordinary people, extraordinary producers. He admires their spirit, getting to the Market early to set up, putting up with weather conditions. He says despite this they are always cheery, and it rubs off on the customers he thinks. He says this is the most friendly place. He wondered if romances happened here like they have with the choirs he has been part of. I told him, yes. Two serious relationships have come from Market that I was the matchmaker for. There is one marriage too, my husband came to find me at Market! We chuckled about this. There is love of local, and sometimes romantic love too!
He likes the size of Market now, he says he is keen on variety. He says he loves that we are allowed to sell wine, beer, and liquor. He calls it the beginning of common sense! Now he can go to one place to get his food and wine. He feels like it is almost becoming a European style of Market (this is a huge compliment). I gave Robin an exclusive RFM pin and cloth bag filled with Market goodies. Yes he even got his favourite Salayview Farm Plain Goat Chevre. I thanked him again for his amazing support of us. Thanks for the lovely conversation Robin. I even learned more about you! Ada