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Founded in 1914 by brothers Goodloe and Earle Yancey, Yancey Bros. Co. began as the Yancey Hardware Company, selling hardware, picks and shovels to government agencies for road construction. From their Peachtree Street location in downtown Atlanta, the brothers became the first dealer in the United States for the Adams Mule Grader, a predecessor of today’s motor grader which was pulled by eight mules.
In 1918, the Holt Manufacturing Company of Peoria, IL boasted that its Model 45 tractor could do the work of, “40 mules . . . or 40 horses and countless humans.” Goodloe and Earle traveled to Peoria to ask Holt if they could represent the product in the southeastern United States. Unable to secure a demonstration tractor, Goodloe and Earle left Peoria with only a photograph of the Holt Model 45 and a price quote of $4,750 per machine.
Yancey’s first Model 45 delivery came later that year to Troup County, Georgia. Within 12 months Yancey had sold all of the Model 45’s in Holt’s inventory, using only a photograph. When Goodloe and Earle returned to the Holt factory in Peoria the following year, they were given Holt’s first jobber’s contract.
In 1925 Holt merged with Best Tractor Co. to become the Caterpillar Tractor Company. Caterpillar’s records indicate that, based on the original 1918 agreement, “Yancey is the dealer with whom Caterpillar and its predecessor companies have had the longest business association.” Thus, Yancey Bros. Co. is proud to own the title of “The Nation’s Oldest Caterpillar Dealer.”
In 1927 the brothers split the territory with Goodloe operating the company for the 83 counties in the northern half of the state as Yancey Bros., Inc., and Earle operating out of Albany as the Yancey Tractor Company for the southern half of Georgia. Joining Earle in Albany as General Manager of Yancey Tractor was another brother, L.D. Yancey, the father of a future generation of Yancey brothers, Don and Goodloe III.
In 1947, Yancey Bros., Inc. opened its first full-service product support branch in Augusta and adopted the current name of Yancey Bros. Co. Four years later Yancey Bros. Co. relocated to a 12-acre site at 1540 Northside Drive in Atlanta. In 1957 the company opened its second full-service product support branch in Macon.
Don A. Yancey, a nephew of Goodloe, began his career in 1936 with the Yancey Tractor Co. in Albany. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Don joined Goodloe at Yancey Bros. Co. in 1946 and became President of Yancey Bros. Co. in 1959.
In 1969, the company relocated to its current headquarters in Austell, four miles outside Atlanta’s I-285 perimeter highway.
In 1974, Goodloe H. Yancey III assumed the presidency of the company upon the retirement of his older brother, Don. Goodloe III had joined Yancey Bros. Co. twenty years earlier as a sales trainee after serving in the U.S. Air Force. Under Goodloe’s leadership, the company opened branches in Calhoun, Gwinnett County and Columbus, and its first full-service truck engine support branch. The company also acquired the Grissom-Harrison Corporation and formed Sunbelt Power Systems, now known as Yancey Power Systems.
In 1994, Jim Stephenson joined Yancey Bros. Co. and became the fourth generation to serve as President and CEO. The Cat Rental Store opened in 1997 and continues to provide Caterpillar’s full line of construction and building equipment to customers with daily, weekly and monthly rental options.
In 2002, Yancey Bros. Co. reunited north and south Georgia under a single Caterpillar dealer with the purchase of the operating assets of Carlton Co., the Caterpillar dealer in the southern half of the state.
In 2005, Yancey Power Systems established Yancey Engineered Solutions to provide specialized design and packaging services for CAT generators.
In 2007, Yancey Bros. Co. was appointed the exclusive Blue Bird bus dealer for Georgia. Yancey Bus Sales and Service provides an extensive line of parts and aftermarket services for school buses of all makes and models.
In January of 2019, after 23 years of leadership, Jim Stephenson retired as CEO. Upon Jim’s retirement, Trey Googe assumed leadership of the Company and the position of CEO, becoming the fifth generation to lead Yancey Bros. Co. Googe joined Yancey Bros. Co. in 2007 and was appointed a Dealer Principal by Caterpillar in 2015.
Yancey Bros. Co. remains committed to learning more about its customers, offering equipment and support to keep up with their changing needs. Harmon S. Eberhard, the President of Caterpillar, Inc., wrote to Mr. Goodloe in 1958 with these words, “through these years, Yancey Bros. Co. has succeeded admirably in balancing its record of ‘seniority’ with an equally fine record of aggressiveness, vigor and growth — qualities often associated with a younger organization. If I could define in a few words the job awaiting the future generations of Yancey Bros. Co., I believe it is just that: to continue to combine the wisdom that comes from long experience in this business with a willingness to change and progress in keeping with the challenge of the future’s markets.” These words remain as true today as they did over fifty years ago.
In 2014 Doug Oberhelman, CEO of Caterpillar, commented on Yancey’s service to Georgia by saying, “To imagine a company for 100 years, under the same ownership, with the same name, as successful as it’s been for 100 years, is nothing short of a miracle. It says an awful lot about the family and about its leadership. So, I congratulate you all for being the oldest Dealer in the United States.” Chairman Oberhelman went on to say, “The relationship between Caterpillar and our Dealers has never been stronger. It’s a relationship that started really with Yancey Brothers back in 1914, when the two Yancey brothers came up to Peoria, took all of one year’s production of our old tractors, and the Dealer model began right there.”