Hopes Run High for $20M Phenix City Development

Thompson Tractor Opens Equipment, Rental Facilities

Mon October 09, 2006 - Southeast Edition
CEG



With more and more people moving into the southern suburbs of Birmingham, Ala., Thompson Tractor Co. decided to follow suit.

The Caterpillar dealer in July opened a 53,000-sq.-ft. tractor store and a 15,000-sq.-ft. rental store at 2070 Corporate Woods Drive in Alabaster.

In addition to all of the residential development occurring in Shelby County, Service Manager Kyle Sims said shopping centers are cropping up and a widening project on Interstate 65 will soon begin. Additionally, there are several rock quarries in the area with equipment needs.

From Alabaster, Thompson Tractor serves southern Jefferson County, northern Coosa County and all of Shelby, Bibb, Chilton and Talladega counties.

More than 40 people work in the tractor and rental stores.

Sims said Thompson Tractor has partnered with Caterpillar to start a program that ensures they stock critical parts to minimize downtime while having most other parts available in a 24 hour time period.

“It’s important to have the facility here to keep them up and running,” he said.

Prior to its opening, Thompson had two dedicated field service technicians covering the territory with additional support from Birmingham, when necessary. It has since added five more dedicated field service technicians at the Shelby facility bringing the total to seven.

Ten technicians are based in the 35,000-sq.-ft. shop, which has 16 service bays — eight for truck powertrain and chassis service and eight for earthmoving equipment.

With the pending influx of roadwork, Sims plans to boost the technicians’ training on paving equipment and Thompson already has a paving equipment specialist on staff.

As demand arises, Sims said he will hire more people to service his customers.

For customers who aren’t in the market to purchase equipment, Tracy Percer, assistant branch manager, helps lead the 11-person team at The Cat Rental Store.

There are approximately 100 rental units in the Shelby County fleet at any given moment, including small construction equipment, medium-sized dozers and track loaders, booms and lifts, four-wheel-drive carts, air compressors, generators and other items. Should a customer wish to rent a machine not on the yard, Percer said he can pull a machine from one of the 10 other branches. Transfers happen on a daily basis.

While the tractor and rental store’s official hours are Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., its staff is available on-call 24 hours a day. Should a piece of machinery break down after hours, an on-call service technician will be available to respond.

The rental store has six service bays, three of which are for rental units and three for the hydraulic shop for the tractor store.

For more information, call the rental store at 205/664-9489 or the tractor store at 205/664-4833. CEG Staff