On March 2, 2009, Thompson Tractor opened its new Huntsville, Ala., branch facility. Customers, friends and supporters were invited to be a part of Thompson Tractor history at its new store’s first day. Customers could stop in, take a tour, grab a coffee, stay for lunch, or just take a leisurely look around and talk with those that helped to make the new branch a reality.
During opening day, two recently retired equipment operators were recognized. Bruce Black and Henry Hopkins were presented with large framed prints of themselves with the machines they used to operate. The prints were signed by APAC and Thompson Tractor representatives and many others in “the construction community”.
The two men have 95 years of combined service throughout their careers with Ashburn Gray Construction and APAC of Huntsville, Ala. Throughout their careers, they have only run Caterpillar machines.
Thompson Tractor’s new branch is situated on 10 acres (4 ha) at 3600 Governors Drive, Huntsville, Ala., next to I-565. The store combines Thompson Tractor Company with The CAT Rental Store in a 42,000-sq.-ft. (3,902 sq m) facility purposely built for expansion. According to Thompson Tractor representatives, a separate dedicated and estimated 28,000-sq.-ft. (2,601 sq m) CAT Rental Store facility will be built next door to this facility at a later date.
Two floors of offices provide ample space for the entire staff and for future additions to the work force. The service area of the facility encompasses almost 18,000 sq. ft. (1,672 sq m) and includes four dedicated rental bays and four truck bays, both of which are equipped with 5-ton (4.5 t) overhead cranes. There are a total of eight bays for the heavy equipment side of the business with a 10-ton (9 t) overhead crane to accommodate work on the heavy machines. A parts stocking warehouse occupies more than 8,000 sq. ft. (743 sq m). Future “vertical” growth plans within the building are already in the making.
Kenny Bishop, vice president of sales stated, “We manage our business very well through good times and bad. This new branch is a long term investment we are making for our customers and is our way of providing them the assurance that we are able to provide them with the level of service they are accustomed to no matter what the economic conditions may be.”
To provide historical background as to why the company built the facility during “not so perfect economic times” Sammy Dean, northern region manager said, “Thompson has been in Decatur since 1959. At the time, Decatur was the most populated area in north Alabama. In the 70s and 80s Huntsville and Madison saw rapid growth in the aerospace, technology and defense industries and are now the most populated areas in the northern portion of the state. We’re simply positioning ourselves to be in the heart of the growth area where we can work closely with our customers to ensure retention. With the team approach at any of our locations, each and every staff member shares and owns our customers’ good experiences as well as any problems they may have.”
In looking to the future, both Dean and Bishop concurred that they have confidence in the Huntsville area for growth of their business and that the economic downturn will be a thing of the past in the very near future in this part of Alabama.