By Tiffany Thompson, News Editor
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 —
For nearly 60 years, Thompson & Son Beef Processing Plant, Inc. has provided processing services in Stanly County.
At one time, the plant was one of seven in Stanly County, but now they are the only such plant, according to third-generation owner Jerry Thompson Jr.
The company was first founded in 1954 by Rev. Lewis “Bill” Thompson, who continued to work at the plant until his death in December 2011. At that time, he was 94 years old.
“He continued to work and he still drove until the day he died,” Jerry Jr. said.
He went on to explain that his grandfather was not only the founder of Thompson & Son, but was also a charter member of Immanuel Baptist Church, where the Thompson family continues to attend. He was also a Baptist minister in Stanly County for more than 60 years.
Lewis Thompson at one time worked for another company but decided to take on the challenge of packing meat himself, which was how Thompson & Son was born.
When the company first started, the plant did not process for the public, but instead processed meat and shipped it. But the local demand from farmers for meat processing promoted the decision to begin processing for the public.
“We quit with the shipping then because there just wasn’t time to do both,” Jerry Sr. said.
Jerry Jr. and his dad, Jerry Thompson Sr., continue to run Thompson & Son, making it a three-generation family-owned business.
Jerry Sr., who has worked at the processing plant since he was 17, began running it when his dad turned it over to him nearly 30 years ago. He is now 74 years old, and continues to enjoy working at the plant.
His son, Jerry Jr., began working there when he was a teenager, and has continued to do so for nearly 33 years.
The 48-year-old says he enjoys coming to work each day and working alongside his father and long-time employee Ken Williams, who himself has been employed with Thompson & Son for more than 28 years.
“We are fortunate to have Ken here. He is a good employee and a pleasure to be around,” Jerry Jr. said of Williams, who also serves Stanly County as a Baptist preacher.
Today, Thompson & Son processes beef, pork and deer, though Jerry Jr. said that the majority of their business is in beef processing.
He explained that cows are brought to the plant alive, and are weighed and tagged. They are then housed in a barn until they are slaughtered and then processed and stored until the customer returns for their meat.
Jerry Jr. explained that it is the loyal farmers that have allowed Thompson & Son to remain in business for so long.
“We have met a lot of good people over the years. The farmers are some of the best to work with. The farmers are why we decided to do this. They’re the ones who have kept us in business,” Jerry Jr. said.
Honesty is another reason, according to Jerry Jr., that Thompson & Son is still around. He explained that he is honest with all of his customers and that being honest is an important trait to have in any business.
“I learned many years ago that honesty is the best policy. I want people to be honest with me, and so I do my best to be honest with others,” Jerry Jr. said.
The plant, which is at 1718 Blanche St., Albemarle, is open 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, though the days are usually cut back to four during the slower summer months.
For more information about services Thompson & Son provides, call (704) 982-6946.