Thompson Machinery traces its roots back to 1944, when DeWitt Thompson Jr. and his business partner George Green operated a GMC Truck Dealership in middle Tennessee. The dealership had gained a reputation of providing excellent service in support of sales. It was this core philosophy that awarded De Jr. a Caterpillar dealership covering 39 counties in middle Tennessee over fifteen other applicants. That summer, Thompson & Green Machinery was founded. DeWitt Thompson III joined as the company’s 13th employee on October 1, 1946, after returning from WW II. The first hires were a Service manager and then a Parts manager. There were no salesmen initially, as there was nothing to sell due to wartime shortages.
On April 1, 1946 the dealership moved into a 20,000 square foot building along Murfreesboro Road in Nashville, TN on five acres acquired from L & N Railroad. Following the war, inventories were scarce due to Caterpillar still recovering from wartime production. For years, sales for Thompson & Green were merely “booked” and customers were on a waiting list to get their new machines. It was common for a customer to stop by the office and check to see where they stood in line. Due to the shortages, Thompson & Green looked for other ways to procure machines to sell. Badly worn machines from the war were purchased and completely rebuilt, as parts were much easier to obtain than machines. Thompson’s first venture with Taylor Machinery, in Memphis, TN, included the purchase of a bulk of abandoned D6s that were rebuilt and sold.
Prospering from excellent service, great sales reputation, and helpful parts coverage; the dealership was offered the northern part of the Alabama territory, based in Birmingham. Thompson & Green formed a subsidiary named Thompson Tractor to oversee the new area. DeWitt III’s younger brother Hall was sent as the dealer principal. With help from the Nashville offices, it wasn’t long before Thompson Tractor was doing fine without any assistance. Upon De Jr.’s death in 1963, Hall expressed a desire from Thompson Tractor to become a separate, independent dealership. In 1965, Thompson Tractor was spun off into an independent dealership in Alabama.
In 1973, DeWitt Thompson IV joined the company full time. He took the helm of Thompson Machinery in 1981. In 1987, the dealership expanded its operations with the acquisition of Taylor Machinery, based in Memphis, TN, and Stribling-Clements, based in Greenwood, Mississippi. This gave Thompson Machinery the territory it has today. In 1988, the company was renamed Thompson Machinery Commerce Corporation and split into two divisions – Thompson Machinery and Thompson Power.
Brothers DeWitt Thompson V and John Thompson represent the fourth generation of family ownership of Thompson Machinery. De became Thompson Machinery’s fourth president in 2003; John joined the company in 2006 and is the General Sales Manager. Their leadership and commitment to the market territory in two states is illustrated by Thompson’s 15 facilities and its over 600 employees. De Thompson V says, “Although we provide the best in equipment with Caterpillar and complimentary brands, that is not what makes our company great. It’s a combination of two other things, our personnel and our customers. We have the best of both.”