Mr. James H. Thornton is the founder of Thorntons Inc. Prior to starting Thorntons in 1971, he began retailing gasoline in 1952 with a single location in New Albany, Indiana. This effort led to the very rapid growth of a chain of gas stations called “Payless.” In the late sixties, he sold the chain and began work on a new brand bearing his name, while preserving the idea of providing value – “pay less” – to his customers everyday.
The first “Thorntons” location opened in 1971 in Clarksville, Indiana. The original site featured a kiosk building and a full-service attendant.
In the 80s, Thorntons transitioned from kiosk locations to convenience stores and grew to over 100 locations.
Thorntons revolutionized the convenience store industry in 1997 with their new award-winning prototype store. This prototype store featured a wide variety of fast-food products, groceries, and beverages within a well-lit, customer-friendly environment.
In 2002 Matt Thornton, son of James Thornton, added his touch to the industry by introducing a larger facility with an expanded fast-food program, a corner-grocery concept, sparkling restrooms, and the best employees.
In 2007, Thorntons introduced its newest concept store with the fastest service, cleanest restrooms, freshest food, and superior merchandising.