By Rachel Dunphy
Norm Fay, a permanent Shelburne resident and founder of Norm Fay Appliance Repair, retired last month after 43 years in the business.
The long time repairman whose business closed with his retirement decided to make his life on appliances mostly by chance. After getting out of the military as a young man in 1965, Fay initially had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. He spent a year at General Electric before deciding the job wasn’t for him and leaving to work for Louis Lesage, a Vermont furniture salesman, for the next four years. He learned a lot from Lesage’s business, and eventually founded his appliance repair with the help of his mentor.
While his company began in South Burlington, it soon moved to Shelburne when Fay’s wife, Beverly, was driving through the town and noticed an open lot she thought would be perfect for a house. The two decided to make their home here, and Fay began running the business out of a home office.
“It’s always been a happy time that I had working with the appliances,” Fay said. He mentioned over and over again how much he genuinely enjoyed the business, watching the appliances change as technology advances, and learning how they work and how to fix them.
In addition to the appliance repair, Fay also enjoyed his 30 years spent as the music director for St. Catherine’s Church. He retired from that job several years ago, and though he misses the work, he felt it was time for some younger members to take over and really enjoys listening to their new styles.
With unrelenting modesty, Fay emphasized that the profession he chose was unremarkable. “You don’t make a lot of noise with this business,” he said, “When people start talking about you, they won’t get too excited about it because there’s not a lot of excitement to be. It’s a repair job, that’s all it is. You fix it, and you go.”
Still in the early days of his retirement, Fay is still unsure how exactly he will spend it, but said enjoying the company of his wife and friends will certainly be one of his main concerns. Another concern will be spending more time with his son in Florida and his daughter in Tennessee.
Now 69, Fay cited no specific reasons for retiring, just that he felt he’d done his part, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life enjoying his friends and family. “It was fun while I did it, and it’s time to stop,” he said. “Let the other people behind me come up and they’ll take over, and they’ll do the same thing. That’s what it is.”
A hard working man with a straight-forward job, Fay showed up to do it every day for over forty years. “It’s a very simple business,” he said, “but it’s a good one.”