100 years ago, during World War I, the Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth Virginia was rapidly expanding and delivering new ships for the US Navy. It was in this setting that T.O. Williams, Incorporated, was founded as a retail butcher shop at 218 South Street, near the downtown waterfront.
Over time business developed due to the splendid support of walk-in customers as well as a variety of restaurants, hotels and other establishments that prepared and served a variety of Mr. Williams products to their diners. Consequently, Mr. Williams reputation for quality products grew. One item became especially popular, Virginia Smoked Sausage Links.
The original business was in an old three-story brick building, and was inadequate for the needs of the growing enterprise. So, in 1950, a modern plant was constructed at 120 Wythe St. in Portsmouth. In May 1968, T.O. Williams Incorporated was granted federal inspection. In 1981, a larger facility began construction that was completed in June 1982, at the current 300 Wythe Street site. Today you’ll find the business nestled between the Railroad Museum of Virginia, the N-Telos Pavilion and WAVY TV. A fire virtually destroyed the interior of the plant in 2016. The rebuilding included state of the art improvements resulting in a processing plant to carry the business well into the future.
Today, our signature fully cooked mild and hot Virginia Smoked Sausage (“The Red One”) is recognized as a leading retail grocery brand in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States.
Looking forward, it is with great pride that we begin the next 100 years at T. O. Williams, Inc. We recommit ourselves to developing great employees, sourcing excellent ingredients and producing great tasting high quality products.