Fifteen years ago, Vincent “Spud” Richardson, 41, knew almost nothing about Martinsville, nor did he realize how it would shape the rest of his life.
Richardson’s wife at the time asked him to move from his native Norfolk to her home in Martinsville. Seeking a change, he agreed to do it.
“When I came here, I was at that age where I was ready to become an adult. I no longer wanted to live how I was living before. It was time for me to grow up. Martinsville’s slow pace has helped me mature and become the adult that I am today,” he said.
Now a single father, Richardson supports his son, 9-year-old Domineek, by working as a barber at Travis Barber Shop at 61 Fayette St. Though the unemployment rate for Martinsville hovers near 20 percent, Richardson thinks his profession has job security.
“I’ve always tried to prepare myself and put myself in a situation where I would be doing some type of work that would always be needed. … I feel like there is hair all over the world, so you’ll always be able to be a barber somewhere,” he said.
Richardson says Martinsville is a good place to raise Domineek, a student at Albert Harris Elementary School, but he wants his son to eventually leave Martinsville. Just as Richardson left his hometown to seek opportunity, he said he wants the same for Domineek.
“I don’t want him to stay here [in Martinsville] because I feel the world has something to offer him, and he can’t get it just sitting here.”
– Jared Soares | The Roanoke Times
ZIP Codes: A photographic journey through Southwest Virginia Explore the whole series here, at roanoke.com
24112 by the numbers
- Average household income: $47,919
- Population: 33,313
- Households: 14,253
- Average age: 42
- Average travel time to work in minutes: 23
2009 estimates by Nielsen Claritas