Sam Rippe always pictured himself coming back to Danville eventually, although he didn’t know it would be quite as early as he did.
“But my roots run pretty deep here,” he said.
He has lots of family around also. Ben Rippe is his father, and they work together at Rippe’s apparel and shoe store downtown Danville. His stepmom, Debbie, is a retired teacher. His mother is Clara Yeatts, who teaches at Northside Preschool, and his grandfather, Guy Yeatts, worked in the school system as well until he retired as assistant superintendent.
Sam Rippe, who just turned 24, graduated from Carlisle School in Martinsville in 2013, then went to Virginia Tech, graduating with degrees in business management and history in 2017.
“I really decided to come back after college after an internship in the summer of 2016 in Washington, D.C. It was a great experience, but I didn’t like living in a big city,” he said. “I’m now the general manager and buyer for Rippe’s. Like with most family businesses, I grew up in it and always worked on my school breaks there, but I’ve been doing it full time since July 2017.”
He said it depends on which day it is whether he is the boss or his father is.
Rippe said he doesn’t have a lot of free time outside of work, but when he does, he likes to get outside or enjoy one of the “great restaurants” in town.
“I’m also a member of the After Hours Rotary Club which meets at Two Witches. It’s a nice way to get involved with the community and it’s very educational. I also sit on the board of Temple Beth Sholom,” he said.
He hopes to be in Danville permanently and thinks other young people should consider the culture in the city — “a small-town feel with activities and amenities not found elsewhere.”
“We have so much going for us as a city, and we’ve made huge strides in coming back from where we were 10-plus years ago. I want to be a part of it, so I’m staying,” he said. “We’ve made a great deal of progress here in the last 10 to 20 years, but I think we’re still at the beginning. That’s exciting to me, and I think it should be to other young people as well. We have the opportunity to be a part of building something incredible.”