Furniture store merging with gas company

October 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Ramey's Furniture Store in downtown Charles Town is merging with a Boonsboro, Md., propane gas company as the company prepares to expand its services to a wider range of home utilities.

The new business will be called Ramey's Inc., a ThompsonGas Co., said ThompsonGas chief executive officer J. Randall Thompson. It will provide propane and electrical power, alarm systems and satellite dish television service.

The new Charles Town office will serve Jefferson and Berkeley counties and Loudoun County, Va., Thompson said. The company also has offices in Frederick, Md., and Shippensburg, Pa., serving about 14,000 customers throughout the Tri-State area.


The Charles Town office will give Thompson's a site to sell gas appliances such as stoves, furnaces and water heaters as well as set up propane service for home builders in the area, Thompson said.

The gas company also plans to get into electrical service when the industry is deregulated, Thompson said.

"Here's a company stepping up to the plate, being creative and getting ready to take on the big utilities," Thompson said.

The company also will soon be in the home security alarm business and satellite dish television service, Thompson said.

By being in Jefferson County, Thompson will be able to better market propane gas service to the new homes being built in the rapidly growing Eastern Panhandle and Loudoun County, Thompson said.

With so many new homes going up in Jefferson and Berkeley counties, ThompsonGas will be looking to expand a program started in Washington County with home contractors, Thompson said.

Home builders are encouraged by the company to install gas appliances and heating systems in new residences and Thompson's will, in turn, help market the homes. The company also provides either gas fireplaces or gas grills to the home builder in exchange for buying and installing gas appliances from the company.

St. James North, a new upscale subdivision in Washington County, currently has about 400 homes with propane gas appliances.

Industry trade magazine "LP/Gas" recently touted the Boonsboro company for its innovate programs.

Under the company's Easy Choice services, customers would be able to call one phone number for questions about a wide range of things, including their satellite service or a problem with an appliance, Thompson said.

"Our research has show us that the greatest advantage of this program is its simplicity. More than 70 percent of our customers believe in the importance of having one package of services, receiving one bill or making one call for all customer service needs," Thompson said.

Customers are able to choose from four different levels of service, from access by telephone to trained professionals who can provide instructions on relighting pilot lights or reformatting computers to having all the work done by the company, Thompson said.

Ramey, who has owned the furniture store for 27 years, said he decided recently it was time for him to do other things. He will continue to work for Ramey's Inc., a ThompsonGas Co., and he continues to own the building.

Thompson said the company had considered locating outside of Charles Town, but decided it would be best to set up downtown.

"We appreciate the vote of confidence ... and for their commitment in locating in downtown Charles Town," said Charles Town Mayor J. Randolph Hilton.

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