Joe Thorn is retiring from the business after 25 years, and the new owner is William Masten.

After 25 years, Thorn Electric has a new owner, but the staff and dependable service will remain the same.

Joe Thorn sold his business Aug. 24 to William Masten, owner of Masten’s Electric in the Smyrna-Clayton area for the past 15 years.

Masten grew up near Kenton and is a 1996 graduate of Polytech. He earned his electrician’s license in 1999 and opened Masten’s Electric in 2006.

He hired his first apprentice last year, and now will be the owner of Thorn Electric which has seven employees including field supervisor John Smeyda who’s been with the company for 16 years, and office manager Sonya Arrowood who’s worked for Thorn Electric for 17 years.

“They’ve been very welcoming and it helps my confidence having such experienced people here,” said Masten.

Thorn said he was ready to retire after 25 years, but he wanted to know he’d be leaving his customers in good hands.

“William has been serving the Smyrna-Clayton community for years, and everything is staying the same – same name, same people, same phone number,” said Thorn. “This is going to be a smooth transition.”

Thorn is going to continue working with Masten as a consultant for a few months at Thorn Electric, and then he will be concentrating on his property management business called CENDEL.

History of Thorn Electric

Thorn started his electrical business working out of his home in Townsend in 1992. He gradually added employees, and 10 years later he bought the building on West Commerce Street at North High Street in Smyrna. Then in 2004, he added on to the building, more than tripling its size from about 1,600 square feet to about 5,000 square feet.

Thorn said his first boss in the electrical business, Bruce Dannels , was the biggest influence on him professionally.

“I was an electrician in the Air Force and he gave me a job working as an electrician for him. Then I went out on my own, but I learned a lot from him,” said Thorn.

One of his first big contracts was in about 1996 when Thorn Electric won its first bonded government contract for the Wilmington Housing Authority.

“That helped me take a larger view of what this business could become,” said Thorn.

He said his advice to prospective business owners would be, “Don’t quit. Keep persevering. Keep pushing through. You have to stay motivated.”

What’s he’s enjoyed most about owning his own business is “controlling my own destiny. I like that the buck stops here.”

One of the biggest challenges has been “getting and keeping good people, not necessarily good electricians, but good people. You can learn how to be good electrician, but for a business to work, you have to be a good person, too. That’s the package that you need. I’ve been fortunate to work with a bunch of good people.”

“I want to thank our customers and our community. It’s been great working in Smyrna,” said Thorn. “When we got this building in Smyrna, it really changed the business. Having a building here really helped us become part of the community.”

Bright future for the business

Masten said having a headquarters in Smyrna is one of the main reasons he was interested in buying Thorn Electric.

“I saw Thorn’s presence in the community,” Masten said. “I’ve been serving the Smyrna, Clayton and surrounding areas for years, but now I’ve got a building in town that’s the home to my business.”

He said buying Thorn Electric is “a way to grow and to take some of the pressure off of myself and to work with a team.”

“Now, I’ll be able to take care of multiple customers at the same time, in the same day,” he said. “Before, if I was on a job in Greenwood and got a service call from someone in Smyrna, I probably wouldn’t be able to get to the service call that day. Now, I’ll be able to provide better customer service.”

Masten and his wife Crystal have four children – three girls and a boy – who all attend Smyrna School District schools.

Thorn said, “He’s very community oriented.”

William will continue Thorn’s tradition of supporting the local community.

“I’m planning to continue the same dependable service to our customers that they’re used to with Thorn Electric and Masten’s Electric,” said Masten.

Breast cancer fundraiser Oct. 27

Masten’s first community event as owner of Thorn Electric will be hosting a breast cancer fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 27 at the shop from noon to 5 p.m., featuring the Smyrna Police Department’s pink and black breast cancer awareness car. Breast cancer survivors are welcome to sign the hood of the car, and people can put a message in honor of or in memory of a loved one with breast cancer on the trunk.

The event will include information on mammograms and programs that are available for people with breast cancer, door prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Thorn Electric is also offering a free lunch, while supplies last, for a donation of $5 or more to support breast cancer charities.