Three years ago, David Griswold moved to Westport.
For months he commuted to Old Saybrook. That was the closest Mystic Market location to here. It was where he learned to manage the Westport store.
It opened in 2019, in the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow space. It took a while, but the market — with eat-in and takeout foods, baked goods, coffee and more — has become a vital part of the Saugatuck scene.
Mystic Market serves the community in a variety of ways. And one of the main reasons for its visibility and vibe is Griswold.
The manager has a fascinating back story. He grew up in a military family. He went to 10 schools, before graduating from a fine arts academy.
Then he trained in ballet, and did a conservatorship with the American Ballet Theatre. He danced with Alice Cooper, and at Madison Square Garden for the New York Liberty.
After that, came … the US Army.
Griswold was a diesel mechanic in Afghanistan and Kuwait. He was also in charge of morale-building, getting soldiers out of their barracks to mix and mingle. During the service he finished his degree in business management.
All of those experiences — arts, problem solving, team building — served him well as he helped grow Mystic Market in Westport.
Now he’s moving on to a new adventure. Griswold writes:
“It’s time to say farewell.
“Sometimes we reach a point where we need to move on from where we started. We feel like we’re at a standstill, and we crave some change and adventure. You can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes, you have to dare to do it because life is too short to wonder what could’ve been. Or sometimes, like in this case, life offers you a better opportunity.
“Here I am again. Finding myself in a familiar feeling I have experienced throughout my life. The moment life has come for me again to be picked up by the wind, move away and start completely over.
“So it’s with great sadness that I am stepping down from my roles as general manager and district manager at Mystic Market. I’m taking a new position in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“While I am very excited for this new adventure, it is unfortunately happing much faster then I had anticipated. I start on September 10, so my last day at work was this past Friday.
“This position has defined and consumed my life for the past few years. It was my second home, my passion, my community. I took great pride in the market. I sacrificed so much of my own free time and happiness for her, so I can’t quite explain the pain and sadness I’m feeling letting her go. But it’s time.
“I always get a strange feeling when I leave a place. Like I’ll not only miss the people I love, but I will miss the person I have become in this time and place. Because eventually I will move on and change, even if it’s ever so slight and never be this way ever again.
“The unsettling mix of sadness and joy feeling I’m experiencing, I try to tell myself is normal. Leaving somewhere you grew to love for something new feels wrong, but I have to just know that it’s for the best, and that it’s time to let go, walk away, pass the baton, give my blessings and move on to my next chapter in life.
“I want to thank everyone I have met since moving here for welcoming me into your community, teaching me so much and making me a stronger man then the one I was when I moved here. I am truly grateful.
“I can only hope I brought some joy or good to your life as well. I would like wish everyone a fond farewell. It has been a pleasure serving you Westport. I hope you won’t forget me.”