In his 50 years working for Western Supermarkets, Darwin Metcalf has been a night manager, produce manager, assistant store manager, store manager, director of operations and executive vice president. The Hoover resident fell in love with the grocery industry as a child playing in his grandfather’s country store. Early in his career with Western, he set a goal for himself to be president. In 2007, that goal was achieved when he was named president and chief operating officer. At a luncheon in November, the Alabama Grocers Association named Metcalf Retailer of the Year 2017.

When did you move to Hoover, and what brought you here?
We moved to Hoover in 1993. We chose Hoover as our long-term residence for the total package, schools, shopping, parks and quality of city leadership that would perpetuate all of these benefits.

What is the best aspect of living and working in Hoover?
Living in Hoover provides great public services with a police department that ensures a safe community. At the end of the day the absolute star of Hoover is the friendly, caring neighborhood communities that really make the difference.

How has Hoover grown and changed over the years that you have lived here?
The number and quality of parks and event facilities has grown at an unbelievable pace with more to come. The Moss Rock Preserve is a true treasure to have in our city.

How did you get into the retail business?
Growing up, I would visit my grandfather’s country store in Ariton and loved to play grocery store, straightening his inventory on old wooden shelves. I started working at Winn Dixie at 16. Two years later, I came to Western Supermarkets and fell in love with the grocery industry.

What does it mean to you to be named retailer of the year?
I knew that someone had nominated me for the Retailer of the Year for the Alabama Grocers Association and was honored to be in a group of great retailers that I know and respect. I was humbled when I found out that my peers, the Board Of Directors for the Association, had voted me Retailer of the Year 2017.

What is the best event in Hoover, or the one you enjoy the most?
It is difficult to single out any single event as my favorite, but anything at Aldridge Gardens or Moss Rock is always a great event.

Where do you see the city in 50 years?
Hoover continues to grow in so many ways: schools, parks, event facilities and community involvement, and we are blessed to participate in this growth. I hope that we do not forgot what brought us all to Hoover, and that is its natural beauty. I hope that in 50 years we still have ample green spaces to see, feel and enjoy. I feel we have all of the “shopping opportunities” that we need and will preserve all of the open spaces that we possibly can.

What is one thing no one knows about you?
People probably do not know that I am a big Prince fan and love old muscle cars.

What is your favorite place to eat in Hoover?
My favorite places to dine in Hoover are Hoover Country Club and Firebirds.

What will make Hoover better for future generations?
The future generations of Hoover residents need to be able to enjoy green, natural spaces. Old shopping centers need to be re-purposed as an alternative to knocking down mountains and deforesting when it is not necessary. I hope future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the Hoover that we have enjoyed for the last 24 years.