Signal readers will have to find a new winner in this year’s Best of the Santa Clarita Valley’s appliance repair category. Three-time winner and 2016 awardee Don Moody is hanging up his tool belt.
After 37 years crisscrossing the valley keeping our labor-saving devices in good repair, Moody decided that it’s time to retire.
“The mind is still there but the body is starting to go,” Moody said, noting that he’s had both knees and a hip replaced. His wife and business partner Chris Moody was quick to point out “they left in the stubborn part.”
When the Moodys went into business in 1980, Don told The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise that he intended to limit his business to the Santa Clarita Valley and had no intention of moving. After all, he’d just expanded his Canyon County home.
He’s been a man of his word on both counts. The couple moved up the hill 10 years ago, but still live in Canyon Country, where they can see their old street and “watch Cowboys football for free,” though binoculars might be helpful.
Tom grew up in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and served in the Marine Corps from 1958 to 1962. His career path has its roots during his service in the Corps repairing radar-guided Hawk surface-to-air missiles while serving in Twentynine Palms. “That was a pretty good base assignment for a young single guy.”
Sears, Roebuck & Co. hired Tom in 1963, and he met Chris, who grew up in Southern California, in 1967. She worked in the Sears human resources department and interviewed him for a job promotion.
“That’s where I got him, out of the Sears catalogue,” she said. “I thought he was pretty cute.”
The couple moved to Canyon Country in 1978 and soon decided to start their own appliance repair business. “I figured that if I could make money for Sears,” he said, “I could make money for myself.”
“When we moved here, it was a nice quiet town,” Chris recalled. “The biggest store was a Woolworth’s and it was a boon when a K-Mart opened.”
Over the years, Chris ran the back office, mapped out Tom’s daily series of service stops, handled the books and set up reservations. Only twice in 37 years did customers not pay their bill, she said.
“Many times, customers would tell me how much they liked the girl I had working in the office,” Don said with a chuckle.
Meanwhile, Don established a reputation for reliability and results. “I love what I do and I’m good at it.” He prided himself on stocking his truck with enough parts to handle most repairs in a single service stop.
People know they can trust him, Chris said. “That’s why he knows so many home security codes and the locations of every hidden house key in the valley.”
Don’s career spans vast changes in appliance product quality and technology. Manufacturers admitted to him that products once made to last 15 years or more are now designed to last a decade.
The advent of electronic controls is now giving way to smart web-connected appliances. “They’ve got fridges now that will tell an app on your phone when you need to buy milk,” he said. But while the technology is promising, he said he wouldn’t buy one just yet.
Two married sons, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren all live in the area, and will keep the Moodys in Canyon Country. Otherwise they’d be tempted to move to Arkansas, citing high property taxes here and low land prices there.
The man known as Doctor Don, the appliance doctor, is grateful to his customers, many of whom are now friends. “We want to thank everyone in the valley for all their loyalty and wish them well,” Chris said. Don nodded in agreement. “I miss it already.”