Puckett Machinery has a rich history of growth and stability fueled by our passion for serving the customer like no one else can. As we excitedly head into the future, we thought you might like to see a brief snapshot of important events that together, have helped create the Puckett Machinery Company we know today:
In June 1942, William H. (Bill) George moved the Mississippi Caterpillar dealership from 301 West Capitol Street in downtown Jackson to 3263 Highway 80 West in Jackson. This business was known as Mississippi Tractor and Equipment Company. On August 1, 1944, Mr. George sold the business to Roger Stribling, Sr. and his brother, E.B. Stribling, doing business as Stribling Brothers Machinery Company.
On March 2, 1953, Ben Puckett, just out of the U.S. Air Force, joined Stribling Brothers Machinery Company as a staff accountant. At that time, the territory comprised sixty-five counties in Mississippi. The company had three stores—one in Jackson, a second in Greenwood, and a third in Gulfport.
In 1954, the Greenwood territory and the southern territories were split into two separate businesses, dividing the counties on a 25/40 basis. The Greenwood business took the new name Stribling Brothers Corporation. In 1956, additional facilities were built in Natchez and Meridian. This opened up new markets in the southwestern and northeastern parts of the territory.
In 1962, Ben Puckett, W.G. Gilchrist, Jr., and W.G. Gilchrist, III bought the business from Roger Stribling, Sr., forming Gilchrist Tractor Company. The business prospered and grew for the next eight years. New facilities were completed in 1969 at Natchez and at Gulfport. In June 1970, the Gilchrist family sold their interest back to Roger Stribling, Sr., and Roger Stribling, Jr. Ben Puckett remained as the third owner. The business was then renamed Stribling-Puckett, Inc.
On April 26, 1975, tragedy struck the company; Roger W. Stribling, Jr., Vice President, Max Williams, General Sales Manager, and Gordon Ellison, our pilot, were killed when the company plane crashed immediately after takeoff at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Ben Puckett suffered a broken back in the accident, but in a very short time thereafter, he was able to return to normal activity.
The Hattiesburg store opened in June 1979 to better serve our customers in the central part of the company’s territory.
On December 16, 1982, Ben Puckett became the sole owner of the company and the name was changed to Puckett Machinery Company.
The Brookhaven store opened in September 1987 to better serve our customers in the central and southwestern parts of our territory. With the addition of this store, customers in our territory are always within one hour of a Puckett Machinery Company facility.
On March 1, 1987, Richard Puckett was named President and General Manager of the Company. Under his leadership, the company continued to grow, despite a challenging economic climate. In November of that year, the Meridian store opened its doors at its new location at 1324 Grand Avenue.
Ben Puckett sold his interest in the company to three of his sons, Richard, Ben, and John on November 2, 1994.
In June of 1998, we opened our new Engine Division facility in Gulfport to serve the marine and electric power generation markets. That same year, we entered the rental business with our first Cat Rental store, known as Puckett Rents, in Biloxi, MS. Less than two years later, in January of 2000, a second Puckett Rents opened its doors in Hattiesburg, MS. And just a few short months after that, in May 2000, Puckett Rents opened its third Cat Rental Store in Richland, MS. This facility became the corporate headquarters for Puckett Rents.
In January of 2005, Hastings Puckett purchased the majority of Ben and John’s stock. At that time, he became Vice President of Sales and Rental Services. In June of that year, we opened our fourth Cat Rental Store in Madison.
One year later, in 2006 we officially celebrated the completion and opening of our new 38,000 square foot service building in Jackson. This facility features cutting edge design and diagnostic equipment, making it the most sophisticated operation of its kind in the state. In July of that same year, we opened our Engine Division headquarters in Jackson across the street from our heavy equipment headquarters.
On June 1, 2007, Puckett Machinery Company was named Caterpillar’s newest Power Systems Distributor (PSD). From this point forward, the division of the company responsible for engine-related activities would become known as Puckett Power Systems. Becoming a PSD enabled Puckett Power Systems to offer our customers in various industries a source for complete engine power solutions.
In December 2010, Puckett Machinery Company and D-M Equipment, the Blount/Prentice Forest Products dealer for southwest Mississippi and eastern Louisiana, announced the merging of their companies. D-M Equipment became known as D-M Equipment Company, a division of Puckett Machinery Company. The move provided our customers a truly unmatched level of quality, expertise, and support in the forest products industry.
On January 1, 2011, Hastings Puckett was named president of Puckett Machinery Company. At that time, Richard Puckett became the company’s chairman and CEO. Upon taking the office of president, Hastings became the third generation president of the company, which speaks volumes about the stability and success of our company, our culture, and our values. That same month, on January 6, 2011, Puckett Rents opened a facility in Meridian, MS. This made the fifth Cat Rental Store opened by Puckett Rents. With top quality equipment, a wide selection of products and supplies, and a team of well trained, experienced rental professionals, Puckett Rents brings an entirely new level of rental services support to the area.
Also in January 2011, Puckett Machinery became the official Trimble Heavy and Highway Dealer for central and southern Mississippi. At this time, SITECH South Mississippi LLC was formed. SITECH South Mississippi’s focus is the sales and service of site positioning and machine control and guidance equipment to the heavy and highway construction industries.
We’re proud of our past. But we’re focused keenly on the future. In September of 2013, we moved into our new corporate headquarters located at 100 Caterpillar Drive in Flowood. This state-of-the-art facility positions us to offer our customers support at an entirely new level with a host of more efficient features and capabilities plus the very latest in construction equipment service technology.
So what does the future hold? No one can say for sure. One thing we can be certain about is our company’s commitment to delivering world class service—consistently and without equal. We look to the future with anticipation, fully prepared to meet and beat every challenge that comes our way. We have a long history of continually improving the level of support we offer our customers. And we can’t wait to see how we’ll raise that bar for our customers in the years to come.
Ben Puckett, Sr.
Our headquarters in Jackson in the 1980s.
One of our original fleet of Puckett field service trucks.
Natchez store in the early 1980s.
Our Hattiesburg facility three decades ago.