Tommy Moxley, an Augusta-area business leader who died Wednesday, often said timing played a key role in his company's success.
Moxley, 71, opened his Appliance Land store in 1976, just as Columbia County was beginning to boom. That was also the year state regulators required Georgia Power Co. to stop selling appliances, which it had been doing since the Great Depression. The move opened a market for washers, refrigerators and other appliances.
“Martinez grew; Evans grew; everything just grew,” Moxley recalled in a 2007 interview with The Augusta Chronicle.
Moxley said he never thought the business would grow as large as it did. But then, he said, he never thought he'd be in the appliance business.
After graduating from the Academy of Richmond County in 1960, Moxley joined the Navy, serving as a radar operator on the USS Dahlgren, a guided-missile frigate that participated in Cold War-era confrontations between the U.S. and Soviet fleets.
Returning to Augusta after his service, he got a job at the new Procter & Gamble laundry detergent plant on Marvin Griffin Road, where he rose through the ranks. After 12 years, however, he once told a newspaper interviewer, he was ready for a change.
“It wasn't as challenging as I would have liked,” he said. “I felt like I needed something more in my life.”
During his time at the plant Moxley had moonlighted as a appliance installer with his uncle. When Georgia Power got out of appliance sales in the mid-1970s, Moxley saw an opportunity.
“The timing seemed right,” he said.
He and friend Justin Pittman started their business in a former women's boutique building at Washington and Davis roads, calling it Appliance Land so it would be listed first in the telephone directory. Sales manager Ronnie Varner completed what became a successful business team.
The company's sales growth coincided with Columbia County's population growth as homebuilders stocked their subdivisions with appliances.
Moxley also took an active role in the community, serving as president of the Columbia County Merchants Association and president of the South Atlantic region for BrandSource, a California-based member-owned purchasing group of 2,200 independent retailers.
He also expanded the business, at times opening stores in Aiken, south Augusta and on Broad Street downtown.
He traveled often and enjoyed spending time on the lake with his family.
“It's been an interesting ride,” he told the Chronicle five years ago. “It sure has.”
His funeral was at 2 p.m. Saturday at Platt's on Belair Road, with burial in Westover Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 1899 Central Ave., Augusta, GA 30904.