CHILLICOTHE – Ben Thompson grew up “pretty normal,” as he put it. He enjoyed basketball and golf and was an avid Ohio State fan. And yet, two things had a very large impact on his life.
“When I was 4 years old,” he explained, “I had a vivid dream that impacted my life to this day. The dream led to me to devote my life to encouraging people in their faith in God. I enjoy teaching and pastoring young adults at my local church.”
“And when I was about 6 years old,” he continued, “I began helping my grandfather work his lemon shake stand at various festivals and events. I found great joy helping him serve the best lemon shakes the world has ever tasted! After he passed, I took over the stand as soon as I could drive at the age of 16, and I still run the lemon shake stand at a few events each year.”
“The common denominator to these two things: God and business is serving people,” he summed. “I love people and I love making their life better, whether it’s through their faith, or providing them with a product or service that enhances their life in another way. Both of these avenues also allow me to spend my creative energy!”
Now 36, Thompson grew up “on a nice country road” just outside Lancaster. He graduated from Lancaster High School in 2003 and hopes to finish his business management degree at Ohio Christian University by the end of the year.
For a time, he was the youth pastor at Chillicothe’s Open Door Church. “I’ve known Ben for 20 years and he brings the heart of a servant to everything he does,” said Mark Pfeifer, the church’s lead pastor. “He serves people in the church and in the community. This is the true heart of Christ, as far as I’m concerned.”
Currently, Thompson and his wife, Heidi, volunteer at Chillicothe First Assembly of God as young adult pastors. “Of course,” he noted, “recently our meetings have been online.”
Meanwhile, he also owns two local businesses. Hometown Apparel and Screen Printing specializes in providing businesses with customized apparel for their promotional needs as well as for their employee uniforms. And Hometown Threads is his downtown shop, “where we connect people with their hometown pride in the form of local designs.”
As such, Thompson recently tried to unite the community with a shirt. “When COVID hit,” he explained, “we had to pretty much close per the guidelines. So I had some free time. And like everyone else, I saw the needs arising in our community. I was inspired by the various efforts to fundraise and help one another through the pandemic. Specifically, I picked up on the food drives for local schools to pass out to families in need.”
“So I designed a shirt called ‘Together in Hope,’” he continued. “The shirt featured a hand-drawn image of the Carlisle Hill Star. The Mayor chose to light the star as a sign of solidarity during the pandemic. So we printed the shirt and gave away all the profits. We raised just north of $5,000 which we used to buy food weekly for the local food drives.”
“I’m excited,” he concluded, “to continue building relationships with our beautiful community through my businesses as well as my work in the faith community. I do it because I get to make a positive impact. No one cares more about the people we work with than we do.”
Hometown Apparel & Screen Printing, LLC is located at 2055 N. Bridge Street in Chillicothe. For more information, call 740-851-6103 or log on www.hometownoh.com.
About the series
Aces of Trades is a series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-349-1110.
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