1925 – How it All Began
It’s 1925. Big things are happening in America. Calvin Coolidge’s presidential inauguration is broadcast on the radio for the first time, uniting the country in an entirely new way. The very first Sears retail store opens in Chicago, Illinois, changing the way people shop. Richard G. Drew and 3M invent Scotch Tape, with masking tape to immediately follow. Roger Stribling began his business career as a Ford Automotive Dealer in Carthage, Mississippi, making him the youngest Ford Dealer in the country at just 20 years of age. Born and raised in Painted Post, Mississippi, Stribling was curious what the business world had to offer.
Stribling didn’t know it then, but he was launching a career that would span not only multiple industries, but the nation as well.
In the 1930s, Roger Stribling and his dealerships experienced growth for the first time, expanding to Hattiesburg and Meridian. But this was only the beginning.
Stribling survived the Great Depression with a considerable number of customer-returned dump trucks, Stribling realized he had an underlying entrepreneurial spirit he could capitalize on. He entered the construction business and worked with the Army Air Corps during World War II. They built Air Corps training bases in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi.
1944 – Partnerships Abound
In 1944, Roger Stribling accepted an invitation from Caterpillar Tractor Company to be their dealer in Central and Southern Mississippi. Their advantageous working relationship allowed for further expansion, and Stribling realized an opportunity for more people to become involved in the business. Stribling extended his generosity to four other employees, who happily joined the company as partners during the 1970s.
1983 – Diversification!
In 1983, with a total of five partners in the business, it was time to diversify.
So, with 58 years of experience in construction, auto, and heavy equipment dealerships, Roger Stribling and his principal shareholders purchased Hughes/Henry Equipment Company (a John Deere dealership), and started Stribling Equipment, Inc., with stores in Jackson, Greenwood, Natchez, Meridian and Columbus.
The acquisitions continued. Since 1983, seventeen acquisitions have been made in an effort to enlarge the company’s footprint and consolidate the territory to make up what the companies are today.
1984 – Coastal Machinery Acquisition
Stribling Equipment acquired Coastal Machinery, the John Deere dealerships in Hattiesburg and Gulfport.
1986 – Stribling Leaves a Legacy
In 1986, Stribling Equipment and its sister company Empire Truck were thriving, thanks to the leadership of founder Roger Stribling. Upon his death, ownership of the companies continued between the remaining principal shareholders. The values, dedication and vision of Mr. Roger Stribling are still with the companies and guide us daily.
1987 – Komatsu Franchise Acquisition
The Komatsu franchise was acquired from W. W. Williams Co. and as a result, Great Southern Tractor was formed as a division of Stribling Equipment.
1992 – Mississippi Road Supply Purchase
Stribling Equipment purchased the assets of Mississippi Road Supply, the Dresser dealer, and added it to the operations of Great Southern Tractor.
1995 – Bell Construction and Forestry Factory Acquisition
In 1995, Stribling Equipment added Philadelphia as one of its acclaimed branches through the acquisition of the Bell Construction and Forestry Factory Store.
1996 – Caring Shareholders
In 1996, the business continued to further diversify its business interests. Jerry Swanson and Sherry Greener spun off GST (the Komatsu and Ford business) to a former shareholder. The holding company, GS&L, changed its name to Greener & Swanson Enterprises.
2008 – A New Factory
In 2008, after many consecutive years of growth and diversification, Stribling Equipment built a new facility in Brookhaven, Mississippi.
2010 – Hats off to Hattiesburg
Continuing its efforts to expand and improve customer service relations, Stribling Equipment (along with its sister company, Empire Truck Sales) opened up a brand new facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The new location offered amenities which allowed its employees to respond more quickly to customer inquiries, and offer faster turnaround time on orders. Customer-approved! The new location also replaced the previous one on Highway 49 South.
2012 – A Big John Deere Acquisition
Another deal, another day. In 2012, Stribling Equipment made an agreement with the Alabama John Deere Dealer that would prove their industry resilience. Stribling Equipment acquired seven John Deere stores covering the entire State of Arkansas and parts of Texas and Oklahoma. These acquisitions brought the John Deere store total to 19.
2014 – Still Going Strong
Most recently, a John Deere branch store was established in Jonesboro, Arkansas. This establishment brought territory ownership in the area full circle, equaling total coverage of Arkansas for John Deere Construction and Forestry products.