Ronald Thompson, Sr. had nowhere else to turn in life. He was at a crossroads when he met Maj. Spencer Guerry.
Thompson said that as a teen, he often found trouble “running the streets” of Georgetown.
“It was pretty rough coming out of the house with a single mother who really couldn’t control me,” he said. “I pretty much did what I wanted to do. It seemed like every Friday I ended up at the police station.”
Thompson credits Georgetown Police Deputy Chief Maj. Spencer Guerry, who was killed in the line of duty in 1994, with turning his life around and putting him on the fast track to be successful. “I knew half of those police officers there wanted to send my young behind off to wherever they send young folks, but there was something different with him,” he said. “He never let them do anything to me and always made sure that I made it home safe.”
“Maj. Guerry was the lost father that I never had, but I just never knew either,” he said. “It was a learning period in my life. Every time I was at the station, he gave me a word. He told me I could be better and how he knew I was able to. I know it all changed that night he got killed. That’s the last time I was in a police department.”
Thompson’s wife of 24 years, Terra, said that Ronald, Sr. doesn’t like to talk about Maj. Guerry’s death but is aware of how much he means to him.
“For Maj. Guerry to be such an impactful part of his life during that time and it literally changed his mind set around at such a horrific point of him losing his life,” she said. “That’s when he got it together. He started to do better, finished school and was less of a restrain in the household on his mom.”
That period in his life resulted in a successful 17-year career in trucking and landscaping, a wife and three children, the calling to preach and a successful store which just opened in Georgetown.
Wholesale Discount, owned and operated the Thompsons, is located at 69 Jessamine Ave. in Georgetown and offers appliances, hardware, doors, lawn and garden equipment, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, power tools, outdoor furniture and building materials. They can also order anything you need.
Ronald Thompson said since their grand opening June 24, it has amazed him how successful the store has been.
“We have sold so much,” he said. “This store was jam-packed when we opened. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. We have three trucks coming this week to re-stock.”
Thompson said their low prices are what make them stand out from their competition.
“We have no more than a 70 percent profit margin,” he said. “Most everything we have is half what you would pay at other stores with the same quality. With the economics with Georgetown, we are able to provide things that citizens couldn’t otherwise afford at a discounted rate.”
Thompson said that many customers have asked if they will stock lumber at their location.
“Hopefully within the next 30 days, we will have the lumber yard back up,” he said.
Thompson is experienced in the trucking industry so he will be mainly be dealing with logistics and freight and getting inventory in quickly.
“Things are moving faster than we could have imagined,” he said. We have five lawn-mowers coming. Out of those five, four have already sold. It’s like we can’t get things fast enough.”
Terra Thompson has been in the retail field for around 20 years.
“I do all of the selling, putting up displays and taking care of inventory and pricing,” she said. “With my background in customer service and communication, that’s basically my area of expertise.”
Thompson Sr. is the pastor of Covenant Missionary Baptist Church and got the call to preach during his trucking career.
“I had a calling while trucking and became a pastor,” he said. I always prayed for something different to help people. Trucking was a job to me, but wasn’t a passion. It paid the bills.”
Most of the store’s revenue will be used for their church which is located behind their store off Fraiser Street. In fact, they were looking for land for the church when the idea for the store was born.
“We really weren’t looking for a business at this time,” he said. “We were looking for a building to house our church. I spoke to the church and asked them if they had strong faith, let’s have something that wouldn’t strain the members and also take care of the community. We are here because others believed in us.”
They are working hard on the building and hope to move into their new sanctuary sometime in November.
“This store is for the church,” he said. “We will give 50 percent to the church and 25 percent will go back into the community. The Lord told me that I would be successful and make money, but it’s not yours. It’s to help people in need.”
In addition to the store and their roles in church, the Thompson’s have a plan of helping the homeless community in Georgetown County.
“We want to open up a kitchen for the homeless,” he said. “At least help them get a shower or a meal a day. That’s the passion.”
They also plan to reach out to teens in the area that needs guidance.
“Our plans are to have an indoor basketball court and a computer lab in the church building where we can train the youth so they have an outlet,” he said.
Thompson hopes God continues to use him to minister to people.
“The Lord made a way, and we thank him for that,” he said. At the end of the day, the only thing I want to do is give back and put a smile on someone’s face. That’s life for me.”
“What Guerry did for me, I would like to do something for the community,” he said. “It was a sad day when he was killed but it’s when everything changed for me. The biggest people who have gone on, their name resonates when their gone. I also want to do something positive for somebody.”
According to Thompson, he had a rough childhood but all the trials he endured during that period have made him a better man.
“I’m just a young guy from Georgetown that came out of the projects,” he said. “I never thought about having a life like this.”