Fishing boat trade laid foundation for A.L. Thompson

Alfred Lawrence Thompson and his
wife Corinne started selling lumber from their yard in 1950 after they traded a
fishing boat for stock in Nicaragua. They added other building supplies to meet
their customers’ needs, explains the company website.

The first issue of The Caymanian
Weekly in 1965 carried an ad for Halls Distemper oil-bound water paint,
available from “agents and stockists” A.L. Thompson Building Supplies, Ltd. By
July 1966 the company was advertising Sunbeam appliances, “High Quality and
Best Prices”.

A.L. Thompson dominated the front
page on 23 November 1966 with the opening of a two-storey structure in downtown
George Town, across from the post office. The ground floor was filled with hardware
and tools, plumbing supplies, electrical appliances and household items. The
upstairs was divided into 12 400-square-foot offices for rent, suggesting a
store floor space of around 4,800 square feet.

The company website takes over the
story, noting that A.L. Thompson Jr. and his sister Berna (now Cummins)
acquired the business in the late 1970s and moved the store to what had been
the warehouse outside Industrial Park, where it became known as A.L. Thompson’s
Home Depot, a 22,000-square-foot building. The company opened the The Appliance
Centre down the road in 1996.

A.L. Thompson’s continued to serve
the community after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and during construction of its
75,000-square-foot facility, which opened in October 2007. By adding four new
galleries for home fashions, rugs, bath and kitchen fixtures and appliances,
the store increased to 100,000 square feet by January 2010.

A.L. Thompson now has a satellite
store in Savannah, bringing the shopping locations to three, plus a lumberyard
and separate roof truss plant.

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