Harry Caswell stands with a display of British candy for children's christmas gifts in front of a backdrop display of imported teas in his store Wise Choice British Foods on 6171 Brandt Pike in Huber Hts. Photo by Jim Witmer

‘American dream’ closing after more than two decades

The owner of a Huber Heights business says it is time to let go of his wife’s “American Dream.” 

“I will miss the companionship of the people who have been customers for 20 years, but life changes and life goes on,” Harry “Harvey” Caswell said about closing Wise Choice British Foods.

Caswell and his wife Sheila opened the business located at 6171 Brandt Pike in the Marian Shopping Center in 1997. Sheila Caswell died of a brain tumor two years later. She was  57.

“My wife is the one that wanted the business,” Caswell, now 82, said. “In  memory of my wife’s American Dream, I decided to keep it going. We never ran it as a profit business. I didn’t want it to be profit center. As long as it supported itself, paid all the bills, I was happy.” 

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The Caswells immigrated to the United States from the coal-mining town of Cwmgwrach, Wales, in 1969. 

They lived in Detroit until Harry took a sales job that meant a move to Huber Heights in 1971.

 He worked for Delphi in Kettering for 22 years before retiring in 2001 as an engineer. 

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Sheila Caswell was a stay-at-home mom and had a Dayton Daily News delivery route, her husband told the newspaper for a profile in 2004. 

The couple’s children, Sian and Ransom, graduated from Wayne High School.

Harry Caswell dons British store trademark, a bobbie helmet
Photo: Contributed photo

For 18 months, Caswell said he tried unsuccessfully to sell the shop that specializes in imported British and Irish food, gifts, candies and other goods.

“We had several bites, but nothing came through at the end,” he said. 

He anticipates that Sunday, June 30, will be the shop’s last day.

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Henry Caswell and store assistant Katie Marsh look at inventory in Caswell's Wise Choice British Foods store on 6171 Brandt Pike in Huber Hts. June 2nd was the store'sm10th anniversary. Photo by Jim Witmer

“There comes a time in everyone’s life when things change,” Caswell said. “I am looking forward to retiring.” 

  

He said he tried to make the business a welcoming place.

“You walk in a stranger. You walk out a friend and that is how we tried to run this business,” he said.  

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Many customers have sent him photos over the years. 

“Each photograph on the wall has a story to tell,” Caswell said. “We have people who have visited with us for 20 years.” 

Harry Caswell, owner of Wise Choice British Foods, Gifts and Candies in Huber Heights, holds of a wall hanging featuring a image of Prince William and Kate Middleton. staff photo by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Amelia Robinson

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