Rockfish Gap Outfitters searches for buyer with his passion
By Rebecca J. Barnabi
For Augusta Free Press
WAYNESBORO — Rockfish Gap Outfitters remains open while owner Chuck Walker awaits a new owner to take over the business and hopefully carry it on as he has since 1998.
The store has been at 1416 East Main Street since 1987. In 1998, Walker and two business partners bought the store.
By 2007, Walker, who lives in Charlottesville, bought his two partners out of the business.
“I was the one who had a passion for doing this,” Walker said of the store, which originally sold only bicycles, backpack gear and a small number of boats.
Walker said that he and his business partners expanded the store’s merchandise, including camping accessories, and expanded brands.
“We changed things around. We put more of an emphasis on backpacking [and boats],” Walker, 70, said.
More than 20 years later, Walker’s passion for outdoors everything remains, but he and his wife would like to travel.
The couple, married for 50 years this June, have two children, Jack and Brandy, who live in the area. They would like to spend more time with their grandchildren, Sophia, Ozzy, Joey and Charlie.
Walker grew up all over the United States. His father served in the U.S. Army. He earned a degree in mass communications from the University of Texas at El Paso.
He worked for Blue Ridge Mountains Sports for some time, then a company in Washington, D.C., before he heard about a store available for purchase in Waynesboro, Virginia.
“Waynesboro is ideally situated,” Walker said of the location for the business.
The River City is at the junction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Appalachian Trail and Interstate 64.
“We’re a big tourist stop-off place,” Walker said.
The store has maps for hikers, as well as gear.
According to Walker, the store is busiest from May through July. In May and June, hikers come through on their way to and from The Appalachian Trail.
The store’s slow season is right now: January through March.
If he were keeping the business, Walker said he would expand merchandise again and increase sales by offering children’s clothing and gear.
Walker said he will miss not only the store’s customers, but the staff, sales representatives and business individuals.
“That’s what I’ll miss is the interactions with the people,” Walker said.
The store, all merchandise inside and less than one acre of property have been for sale for two months.
He wants the store to remain open as is for one big reason.
“That’s because of our customer base,” Walker said.
Rockfish Gap Outfitters has customers who regularly come from Richmond, the coast and as far as West Virginia.
Anyone interested in the store can call real estate agent Stuart Rifkin at 434-466-9515.
Rockfish Gap Outfitters is open Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.