Gatorade, Free of Charge

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By Stephanie Shapiro
When Renay Tyler, MSN ’05, ACNP, CNSN, RN, and her husband John got out a map and drew a circle through all points within a two-hour radius of Towson, they were contemplating convenient locations for a weekend retreat.

“If we’re going to buy another property, it should be something that we can enjoy and afford,” said Tyler to her husband. She wasn’t exactly looking for a second job.

Renay_TylerWithin that circle, though, was a charming variety store on milepost 76.5 of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The store, attached to an old cabin, was for sale. Both Renay, an assistant director of nursing for advanced practice in the Department of Surgery, and John, an administrator with the Veteran’s Administration, were plenty busy during the week. Still, the shop, for 40 years a popular stop for towpath travelers and boaters, beckoned.

In 2006, the Tylers bought Barron’s Store at Snyder’s Landing, near Sharpsburg, MD. The couple’s decision to keep the store open and fix the property pleased original proprietor Lee Barron who was nearing 80 and ready to retire.

Now, on weekends from spring through fall, the Tylers continue the Barron’s tradition. “We sell cold drinks, granola bars, penny candy, and we have ice cream,” says Renay Tyler. Enrolled in the new doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, she does homework and works on performance appraisals during lulls in business.

And in some ways, Tyler’s weekend job is not unlike her weekday job. In both, “I’m engaged in meeting people and finding some common ground, whether it’s a customer or a colleague,” she says. “It’s more than just selling a soda and more than just giving a performance appraisal.”

Occasionally, Tyler’s nursing skills come to the rescue. “We’ve had a few kids who spin out over their handlebars and cases of dehydration when it’s unseasonably warm,” Tyler says. Those patients get a Gatorade, free of charge.

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