Laura Dean Bennett
Mark Owens, owner of Breakers Galore in Marlinton, grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“I was a city boy, but I always knew I wanted to live in the country,” Owens said.
That dream became a reality when he met and married Pocahontas County native, Peggy McNeill, in Indianapolis in 2001.
Peggy made frequent trips home to visit family and friends, so it wasn’t long before the couple started spending time here – Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer vacations found them enjoying life, Pocahontas County-style.
As it seems to happen with so many folks, Owens was quite taken with our little corner of the world.
“The first time I came to Pocahontas County, I fell in love with the place, and I couldn’t wait to move here,” he said.
They began the move from Indianapolis when they bought a house in Marlinton five years ago, a place to spend holidays and vacations, before making it their permanent home.
“We moved here so Peggy could come home to the community she grew up in,” Owens said, smiling.
“Most of my business is still in Indianapolis – well, 99.9 percent of it, really.”
And what is that business?
Owens sells circuit breakers, and he has a large inventory.
Circuit breakers are those contraptions that control electrical current – and whether we know anything about them or not, if you have electricity, you have at least one.
Owens has the sales background and knowledge required for this business, and he is certified and licensed by the State of West Virginia.
While he still has customers in Indianapolis, he is focusing on building up his business in Pocahontas County.
“My new customers are often surprised at the volume of high dollar jobs I do,” Owens said. “I‘m not just competing with Lowe’s for the $12 breaker business.
“Most people are familiar with the 20 amp circuit breakers found in a lot of houses, but I sell all kinds of circuit breakers – from 15 amp – the $5 or $6 sort – to the 1,600 amp circuit breakers which cost about $8,000 to the end user.
“My business is mostly in the commercial and industrial market, but I also supply circuit breakers for the residential market.
“It’s a 24/7, holidays included, always on call, available after 5, sort of business,” he laughed.
Owens has a remarkable inventory of electrical components, and he has established a customer base here.
Before he started his business, Breakers Galore, in 2005, Owens spent 28 years working for an electrical supply company in Indianapolis.
“I longed to have my own business,” he said. “But my plan was never to grow a business beyond the place that I could do everything myself.
“I’m happy with a slice of the pie – I don’t have to have the whole pie,” Owens said with a smile.
“I’ve been a one-person operation, and I like it like that.
“I’m a pretty good employee.
“In sixteen years, I’ve never called in sick once, even though I could have taken off anytime I wanted.
“You know, when you’re a homeowner and a business owner, you never really catch up with work.
“Handling the paperwork and the phone calls for my business keeps me busy – but that’s what I like.”
“I’m just glad to be working on my own terms, and that Peggy and I can live where we do.”
Peggy teaches art and gifted students in the county’s middle schools.
“She’s teaching the grandkids of people she grew up with – and that’s a lot of fun for her,” Owens said.
“We’ve added something new to our lives – we now have a camp north of town off of Route 28. During the pandemic, I’ve been piddling around working on it.
“When we’re not working, we’re looking forward to spending a great deal of time there.”
When he’s not working on his business, or working on the camp, Owens is working on the house or puttering around in his well-tended yard.
And he’s a good cook.
“Peggy has her hands full with her teaching job, so I do most of the cooking,” he said.
The couple also enjoys hosting their grandchildren, who love to come for visits.
“I was more than happy to move here,” Owens said enthusiastically. “My favorite thing about Pocahontas County is that there are more trees and cows than people here.
“And there are more trucks than cars – that’s a line from a country-western song,” he added.
“This is our home – our retirement spot – although neither one of us is retired – not quite yet, anyway.”
Breakers Galore is located at 978 Huntersville Road in Marlinton. Owens can also be reached at 304-520-7776 or at firstname.lastname@example.org