Books on Broadway
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jun 24, 2014, 10:58
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Samuel Thompson sits in his book store Wellington House Booksellers on Broadway in Hopewell.
HOPEWELL — A Hopewell native has returned to his hometown to bring the written word to downtown Hopewell. Samuel Thompson, 70, owner and operator of Wellington House Booksellers on Broadway, wanted to come back to not only sell books but help the residents of Hopewell learn how to write and publish their own works.
Thompson, who has been writing for 30 years, recently opened the book store in downtown and is already looking at plans for expansion of not only his business but other businesses on Broadway.
“Right now I’m working in conjunction with two other people to put two other businesses down here,” Thompson said. He said one business will be a women’s boutique and the other a business that will hold exercise classes and poetry readings, calling the business one that promotes “inner healing.”
Thompson not only wants to use his business to help others become writers and self-publishers, but to help the residents of Hopewell expand their horizons through words on a page and chapters in a book.
For Thompson, his inspiration came through his 10th-grade teacher. Though he does not remember her name, he remembers what she did for him.
“When I went to school people told me that I was dumb as a brick and that I should go to trade school,” Thompson said. “My teacher wanted us to do short stores and what she did, she turned around and looked at me and said, ‘you should be a writer.’”
Though school, Thompson enjoyed the works — and still does — of Shakespeare, Plato and more specifically “Great Expectations.”
Although he did not pick up a pen and pencil right away, Thompson did take her advice later in his life. After retiring from construction after 20 years, Thompson found himself spending three years in seminary and then seminary extension.
For nine years Thompson spent his life preaching within the penitentiary system in Virginia. He also spent time at Liberty University, Stratford University, and Southern Baptist Seminary Extension.
Thompson spent much of his life traveling up and down the Southeast coast, owning businesses in South Carolina and Florida. He has also spent time as a journalist writing for the former Hard Times Magazine based in Richmond, wrote a children’s play for a charity and still finds a pen in his hand.
Currently, Thompson is working on a short story titled “Kathlinia and I.” He expects it to be done within the next six months.
“I kind of like short stories basically out of the ‘50s,” Thompson said of the short stories he finds himself writing. “It’s about this individual trying to make money ... who was kind of a troublemaker, and he went on through the course of life, he found this nice young lady, got married, and lives happily ever after.”
One of Thompson’s beliefs is if “someone has something to say, they should be able to say it.” From that belief came about the addition of writer’s workshops at his store. The workshops are $10 a week, per hour. Thompson added the hours are flexible.
“Within the workshop, you’ll learn how to make a book,” Thompson said. “You’ll learn how to write a book. Basically you will learn an inexpensive way to be a self-publisher.”
Visitors to Wellington House Booksellers, which the name came from a chat room screen name Thompson used while doing research for a book, can expect to find a variety of history books, fiction and non-fiction titles, children’s books and Christian literature.
“When I was raising my daughter, one of the things we did was taught her to read,” Thompson said. “And reading does two things: one, it gives you a means of escape. You could be in Paris one day and you could be in the Old West the next day. And the other is that it improves your intelligence.”
Wellington House Booksellers is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sundays and is located at 244 East Broadway.