Those of us living in the Hereford Zone have a certain idea of what it means to be a resident here. We are kind, caring, outdoor-loving, faithful, community-minded people. While there are many fellow neighbors who would fit this mold, Ayda Swartz, a Hereford native, seems to epitomize all of these characteristics. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her in person, you can get to know her here and then stop by the Fill’er Up at 21307 York Road in Parkton, for a breakfast, lunch or dinner and a visit.
What do you do for a living? I have 2 careers. I am a part time realtor with Riley & Associates with my husband, David, who is a Full Time Realtor, licensed in MD and PA. We have been in the business for the last 11+ years and have truly enjoyed helping our clients purchase and sell their homes over the years. We realize this is one of the largest purchases most people make in their lifetime so we focus on customer service and knowledge as our main goals with every transaction. My second career is my full-time job as General Manager of The Fill’Er-Up. This is a family business that my dad and step-mother ran themselves from 1975 until 1992, leaving me as the manager for the last 20 years. I have grown up here and it’s been a really amazing journey with the many local employees and customers that I’ve had the privilege to get to know and watch grow up as well. Big thanks go out to all my current God sent employees: Matt, Kathy, Trent, Don (night manager/buyer), Ali, Kate, Emily, Laurie, Eileen, and Sally.
I took over the management of the restaurant just five years ago. It has been a wonderful addition to the gas station/c-store. I am very happy with having the ability to determine what foods are served, how they’re served and that they are served with great customer service. I have to thank God for sending us an angel five years ago when Glenn Fisher walked in looking for a job right as we were taking it over and is now our head Chef. I had no prior knowledge of running a restaurant when we took it over but Glenn had 30+ years of experience. He’s still with us today...blessing us with his soon to be FAMOUS, Cream of Crab soup, and many other homemade soups, sausage gravy, hand patted oysters, shrimp and crab cakes just to name a few.
What is great about your job? The greatest part of my job is the people who surround me everyday. We have the most wonderful regular customers that come in and make our day with their smiles, updates, and opinions – it keeps it very interesting. My employees are an extended family to me. The ones who stay are the ones who care about the business and its success. And, in return, I really truly care about them and their well being. We help each other in work and life. I try to teach the younger ones about being responsible, following through and learning the ins and outs of running a business.
Where do you live? I live in Freeland,MD
How long have you lived here? I have lived in our home for nine years now. But, I grew up just 2 miles away from my current home. I love the Hereford Zone for so many reasons: the beauty of the region, the people and mostly my family.
What is the best thing about your neighborhood? We love our neighborhood because it’s just right. We have 5 homes in our subdivision plus 2 or 3 neighbors across the street and across the field that make it very friendly and warm. There are lots of kids in our neighborhood and, in particular, lots of boys. This works out great since I have 2 boys myself. Bradley is 13 and William is 8.
How would you describe your family? My husband, myself, Bradley & William are very close. My husband is my best friend. As a family, we do everything together and enjoy spending time together. We do a lot of outdoors things like: hiking, camping, many sports, biking, music festivals and general games and playing around at home. My family, extended family included, is the most important thing in my life. I would not be who I am today without each of them in my life.
Are you involved in the community? I am involved with the community through charitable contributions through The Fill’Er-Up and The Swartz Team. We give to different organizations such as: The Boy Scouts, Rec Councils, 7th District Elementary, Prettyboy Elementary, Hereford Middle/High Schools and the Md Line Volunteer Fire Dept.
Favorite local restaurant? The Fill’Er-Up, of course! I eat here 5 days a week and it never gets old.
Favorite local fun spot? My favorite local fun spot is anywhere along the Gunpowder river. I love to hike, fish and just hang out in nature. And, we are truly blessed to have such a beautiful park right in the heart of our Hereford Zone.
Where did you go to high school? Hereford High School, Class of ‘86
Favorite event in the area? That would probably be the Fall Festival or the Parade
What was your first car? The low rider, camaro. We called it “The White Beast.”
Do you have pets? What? We have 2 dogs - Hannah is our 7-year-old German Sheppard/Burmese Mountain dog mix and Sunny is our 5-year-old lab/collie mix rescue dog.
What is your favorite hobby? Why? I love photography. I enjoy taking pictures of people mostly but also enjoy a scenic spot as well. I enjoy the memories that are created.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Loyal, outgoing and friendly
What do your friends find annoying about you? I don’t want to know!
What was the most important lesson your parents taught you? My father has taught me so much about life and business. My dad is my mentor and one of my very BEST FRIENDS. He has taught me to take responsibility, accept criticism, don’t TRY but DO, and to be kind and compassionate. My dad is the BEST! Most of all...he has taught me to LAUGH!
Do you dream about or wish for anything? My only wish is that my boys grow up to be strong and able men in this world; that they find happiness within themselves and learn to serve God and help others.
Where is the most interesting place you have been? My husband and I toured Europe backpacking for 3 weeks on our honeymoon. That was a trip of a lifetime. We enjoyed England, Paris, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. We hope to be able to take the boys in our lifetime.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? Just that we are a SMALL business and that we can’t survive without the partnering of our community. Small business is the backbone of America. We need the personal caring, the local hiring and to keep independent companies alive in today’s corporate world. Also, please, get involved with your local government. We can make a difference!