The Try-Me Service Station opened for business in 1929, founded on owner Edmund Thompson’s belief that once people tried his outstanding products and services, they would become loyal customers. The Try-Me Service Station prospered despite the onset of the Great Depression. Building on his initial success, Edmund decided to take this same philosophy of customer satisfaction into automotive sales, marking the birth of the Thompson Automotive Group.
Edmund started with used cars and by 1936 he had become a Willys new car dealer. In 1937 he added the Studebaker line and soon ran out of room. In 1940 he razed his original service station to make way for a larger building.
Fortunately, Edmund never strayed from his original dedication to customer service. When new car production was stopped during World War II, he was able to go back to his roots and keep his company going as a full-service gas station.
The end of the war was a new beginning for Thompson Motor Sales. The company prospered in post-war years, adding Packard to the Thompson lineup in 1954. More importantly, those years marked the entrance of Edmund’s sons, Edmund Jr and Frank, into the family business.
In 1956, the Thompson family demonstrated their commitment to long-range growth by making a bold decision. Realizing that Willys, Studebaker and Packard were obsolete, they dropped all their existing lines in favor of becoming a Mercury dealer. The wisdom of this decision was proven by years of steady growth.
Those years also marked the entrance of a third generation of active involvement in the family business. After graduating from the University of Baltimore in 1965 with a business degree, Edmund Jr’s son, Tom, joined with his father and uncle to continue their company’s expansion. Having long since outgrown their 50-car facility, the Thompson family built their current 150-car dealership on Merritt Boulevard in 1971. This modern facility resulted in a 400-percent increase in sales over the next two years.
In 1973, another family member joined the Thompson team. After completing a tour of duty in the Air Force, Frank’s son, Doug, added his commitment to the family business.
Tom Thompson Sr is the automotive group’s current President and in keeping with the Thompson legacy has extended the philosophy of complete customer satisfaction to all other new dealerships: Thompson Mazda on Merritt Boulevard, Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on North Point Blvd, Thompson Hyundai on Merritt Boulevard; Thompson Toyota and Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Edgewood, MD.
Four generations of family success are a source of great pride. The Thompson family has never forgotten that the business success of the future depends on customer satisfaction today. That’s the way it’s always been and you have the Thompson family’s word that it’s the way it will always be.