Capital Electric: Power to the people

Front row, left to right: Randy Johnson, J.D. Delman (holding his pup and company mascot, Koda) and Jason Hartz, employees, and Troy Dye, manager, at Capital Electric’s front counter. Jason Lilly, a customer from Masters Mechanical, stands in the back. (Photo by Cathy Welch)

When you come to Capital Electric, you are going to get better prices on about 75 percent of electrical products than you would at the big box stores,” says manager Troy Dye. “We sell electrical products for commercial and residential construction, but at this particular location, we do more business with residential builders and homeowners than we do commercial guys.”

Capital Electric stretches across five states along the East Coast, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. In Hampton Roads, there are seven stores, with locations in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News and Williamsburg.

Dye began his career in the electrical business while working for a crane company, doing folding material handling; this led him to the Newport News shipyard. “When I worked in the shipyard we were rebuilding cranes, so I did the electrical work on those cranes. I’ve been here at Capital since 2001, so 18, almost 19 years — and I worked for another distributor for a few years before I came to Capital.”

This combined experience gave Dye an understanding of all sides of the business, knowledge of what goes on in the field, how to best serve contractors and homeowners alike, as well as running a retail operation. Notwithstanding, Capital Electric is more than just a store where one can pick up supplies; it has a physical presence at many job sites across Hampton Roads. “A lot of construction sites will keep a supply of the electrical materials they need on hand at the job site in a large container, known as a CONEX box. We have guys who will go out and keep an inventory of what’s being used and what is needed. We keep them supplied so the foreman of the job doesn’t have to worry about it,” says Dye.

The location in Newport News opened in 2013 and has been growing at a rate of around 25 percent per year. According to Dye, that growth has leveled off and while business is great, the Newport News location is smaller than the stores on the southside. “We have maybe a quarter of the inventory that the Virginia Beach store has and half the inventory that the Chesapeake store has, but I love the size of our operation.” Dye points out that the four employees who work at the Newport News store get along terrifically and function like a small family. “When you have a small group of good people, everybody does more and does a better job. One of my main guys — Jason Hartz — can do just about anything that I can do. So when I’m not here, I still know that everything is going to run smoothly.”

The employees at Capital Electric are a tight group, but Dye loves going home to his real family at the end of the day. “I’ve been married for 19 years and I have two kids,” he says. “My son Colby is in the 12th grade and my daughter Hannah is in the 11th. One of my biggest passions in life is bow hunting, and I’ve been lucky enough to do that with both of my kids, just like my dad did with me. There’s no challenge like bow shunting; if you can harvest a deer with a bow you’ve really done something.”

Capital Electric
Address: 813 Diligence Dr., Ste. 125,
Newport News, VA 23601
Contact: Troy Dye, manager
Phone: 757-327-7914

About Christian Chance 17 Articles
Christian was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia, but has lived in the Shenandoah Valley, Richmond, Norfolk and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. One day he would like to live on the rocky coast of Central California, where the surf is plentiful. He is particularly interested in Latin American culture, which led him to major in Spanish at Old Dominion University. He is happiest when he is creating things with his hands, and he is slightly obsessed with music. So his idea of a perfect day would be creating something interesting in the metal shop with his ear buds in, listening to good music.

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