Throughout his life, Thomas J. Walton was a jack-of-all-trades.
A licensed electrician, plumber and HVAC tradesman, Walton has entered the homes of hundreds of people across Virginia and North Carolina, providing services since the 1980s with his company Walton’s Appliance & Electric, LLC.
Now 71, Walton has retired.
“It’s really been a blessing for us,” Walton said of his business on Wednesday.
He recently notified his clients that he would no longer be in business and thanked them for being a loyal customer, some of whom have supported him since he opened his business.
Walton, the eldest of 13 children, grew up in Halifax County and, like many, began his working life in local industries.
He spent 15 years at the old Wabash Magnetics, which was once located on Seymour Drive.
The South Boston plant manufactured electrical coils for the aerospace, automotive, and appliance industries.
After his time at Wabash, he worked at O’Sullivans for six years.
Wanting to get away from working in these industries and wanting to be his own boss, Walton’s Electric was formed.
“I started with the devices,” Walton said.
He began to dismantle the devices, restore them and resell them.
The business quickly expanded into electrical and plumbing and later started doing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) work.
“Some things are related to each other,” Walton explained, and learning these skills is tied to his youthful fascination with learning how objects work.
He also took many courses over the years at Danville Community College and Southside Virginia Community College to broaden his skills.
“The learning process never stops,” Walton said.
Walton’s also became a family business with six of his brothers and two of his sisters joining the business.
His daughters also later joined the business which took care of record keeping, taxes and all legal needs.
Over the years, customer loyalty and word of mouth have kept Walton in business.
“When people have a problem with something, they say, ‘Call Walton. They were always calling,” said Walton, who estimated that 70% of his customers were repeat customers.
But his business wasn’t just known in Halifax County.
Licensed in Virginia and North Carolina, Walton said his company has completed work in areas including Virginia Beach, Wytheville, Richmond, Lexington, Lunenburg, Charlotte, Roxboro, Oxford and Burlington.
When someone calls him asking for his services, Walton says, “the wheels start turning,” and usually he knows how to fix the problem.
“I will always have that. I will always do something,” said Walton, who always did his best to treat his customers the best way he knew how.
His company has always supported the community by sponsoring events such as the Halifax County Cancer Society’s Walk for Hope or providing volunteers and/or materials for Habitat for Humanity projects. .