Thompson Machinery, regional distributor of Caterpillar products, is celebrating 60 years of business in 2004 with a series of “open house” events at its stores throughout middle and western Tennessee and north Mississippi.

The company, founded in Nashville in 1944, offers complete sales, rental, and leasing options, as well as full-service capabilities.

Thompson serves as the region's exclusive distributor of Caterpillar construction and forestry equipment, Challenger agricultural equipment, and Cat truck engines, marine engines, and power generation equipment. Its territory includes 99 counties in Tennessee and Mississippi, with more than 400 employees.

The Greenwood, Miss., location held an open house customer appreciation event in July, with a number of company officials on hand, including chief executive officer and chairman of the board De Thompson IV, whose grandfather founded the company; company president De Thompson V; regional president Reggie Dill; and Greenwood store manager Hank Williams.

Also attending were more than 200 principals of numerous Delta-area businesses, agribusinesses, and government agencies.

Thompson bought the Greenwood operation in 1997 from Stribling-Clements, which has been in operation since the early 1950s, and in 2000 built an all-new facility. The operation has state-of-the-art parts warehousing, diagnostic, and repair capabilities.

Thompson was founded in 1944 to serve middle Tennessee. In 1987, it purchased Taylor Machinery Co., Inc., which included 17 north Mississippi counties and all of west Tennessee. The purchase of Stribling-Clements added another 25 counties in Mississippi.

With a sales territory in both Tennessee and Mississippi, Thompson Machinery Commerce Corporation then had two divisions, Thompson Machinery and Thompson Power.

Hank Williams, the Greenwood branch manager, says, “With 10 stores, our company network allows us to provide the best in equipment, service, and customer support.”

In addition to corporate headquarters at LaVergne, Tenn. (Nashville), and regional headquarters in Memphis, Thompson has Tennessee stores at Camden, Clarksville, Cookeville, Holladay, Jackson, and Manchester, and Mississippi branches at Greenwood, Columbus, and Tupelo.

Large centralized warehouses are maintained at LaVergne and Memphis, with extensive local parts inventories at branch stores. The company runs a “Parts Express” shuttle service between all stores every weeknight. Service capabilities include a large fleet of field service trucks to meet job-site needs, and hydraulics specialization shops.