Gibson's Grocery Founder a Legend in Belmont

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September 16, 2012

Two honorary street sign designations will go before the
Charlottesville City Council Monday night. This is a way to recognize
someone who has made a difference in a certain neighborhood or area and therefore made an impact on Charlottesville's history

One of those people is Franklin Delano Gibson. He founded Gibson
Grocery in 1977 on the corner of Avon and Hinton Street and was a
neighborhood hero.

"He was like a gentle sage of Belmont and was just a good, decent man. He was really an old-fashioned soul who embodied the American dream as we know it," said Baughn Roemer, who sent in the proposal for an honorary street designation in Gibson's name.

Roemer met Gibson in the early 1990s but didn't really get to know him until the last year of his life. He says there are too many reasons why this street should be named in honor of Mr. Gibson.

Gibson passed away last year.

"People who looked different or were different from him, made no
difference," he said. "He welcomed them, embraced them, he went out of his way to help them and to comfort them. That type of person is hard to find these days," said Roemer.

Gibson's son, Chris Gibson, now runs the store and he says people
still come in thanking him for what his father gave them. Whether it
was helping them in a time of need or just a warm smile. And that's
why Roemer says he hopes the city approves this sign.

"Hopefully people will see the name and if they don't know him,
they'll ask someone what the story is and hopefully they'll draw some
inspiration from his lesson and his life," Roemer said.

And while Charlottesville has a rich history of presidents and generals, who we all appropriately recognize, appreciate and respect, Roemer says the little people do great things too.

"It's the common men and women who make the difference day in and day out," he says.

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