Proudly Celebrating our 125th Anniversary
In 1892, brothers W.S. and Kensey Johns entered the coal and wood business in Norfolk. Johns Brothers opened on Avenue A in a neighborhood known as Atlantic City, what is now the area at the end of Colley Avenue and south of Brambleton Avenue.
Barges from Baltimore and Philadelphia and railroad cars from Lambert’s Point steamed into the company’s coal yard on the Hague River. Horse-drawn wagons loaded up for fuel deliveries to local households.
In 1910, a young 12-year-old boy named Vincent G. Thomas left school to work under W.S. Johns. Eight years later, he, along with two other partners, would buy the company from Mr. Johns, beginning a Thomas family legacy lasting three generations. Thomas decided to keep the name. Johns Brothers has become synonymous with Norfolk and the surrounding community.
Through the 1930s and 40s, the company transitioned to the fuel oil and gas business, especially as World War II restrictions ended. Oil was cleaner, quieter and warmer than coal and in 1935 the company made its first oil truck delivery. We began to convert customers to more modern fuel burning equipment along with a comprehensive service department for maintenance.
After World War II, Vincent J. Thomas, the son of Vincent G. and former Norfolk mayor, joined the company as it became a coal-forwarding and steamship agent for coal-export companies from New England to Panama. A 1992 anniversary notice in the Virginian Pilot said, “The Johns Brothers” connection with the coal export trade spanned a period from the last of the sailing vessels to the modern era of super bulk carriers.
In 1996, local businessman Dwight Schaubach purchased Johns Brothers and Johns Brothers Security. Over the following decades, our reputation of providing exceptional customer service and quality products never changed. Our customers have always been our best advertising. They refer us to their friends and families. We believe this has been, and still is, the key to our success.
Today, Johns Brothers HVAC is committed to excellence, efficiency and maximum effort in providing its services.