ROANOKE, Va. – The true backbones of our community are the people who often go nameless and thankless.
St. Patrick Wright, the owner of Wright’s Refrigeration and A/C Service, says he was one of few Black business owners of any kind when he opened his business in the 1970s.
“I was the first, as I know, Black man to establish such a business,” said Wright.
Serving clients of all races and backgrounds, Wright says there were challenges but he was welcomed by the community.
“You have to be twice as good because everybody thinks you’re not capable of doing it,” said Wright. “It really doesn’t matter if you’re Black or White so long as you have the experience, clientele, and had a business mind.”
Born in 1942, Mr. Wright also served his family and his community. He says he later taught his trade at Virginia Western Community College and the V.A. Medical Center.
“He paid his dues,” stated his son, Phillip Wright. “The icons are there but as time goes on you don’t want to forget them because they’re the ones who paved the way for others.”
A park now stands where his business once stood at 10th Street and Andrews Road.