Darrell and Donny Tyler sold their first piece of farm equipment on Oct. 6, 1980. Darrell was 14, Donny was 23. They sold a plow for $275 to Major Hubbard out of the front yard of their mom and dad’s house on Morganton Road.
On Saturday, the brothers celebrated the 30th anniversary of Tyler Brothers Farm Equipment on the business property just off West Lamar Alexander Parkway.
Former customers and friends milled around the parking lot of the Massey Ferguson and Kubota dealership, checked out some classic cars, a Maryville Fire Department engine and a customized Massey Ferguson tractor that looked more like a race car, complete with a roll cage.
Donny recalled long days working to build the business. Often they would travel long distances to find equipment to buy, then drive all night, get home at day break and go straight to work preparing to sell what they had purchased.
“Dad and mom lent us money to start it, but we started with nothing and sold this plow,” he said as he gestured toward the plow on display at the celebration. “We bought this from a neighbor, spray painted it and put a sale sign on it. Major Hubbard bought it.”
Donny said they started at a time when the economy was down. “We built it up with hard work,” he said.
Darrell said their dad worked for Alcoa, Inc., and on the side he bought farms, fixed them up and sold them. “He also traded cattle. Our papaw traded pocket knives, so trading has been in our blood all our lives,” he said. “It’s been 30 years, and we’ve made a lot of good friends, and I wouldn’t give anything for them.”
Darrell said they’ve traveled all over the country buying and selling farm equipment. “From Wisconsin to Florida,” Donny added.
“We started on Morganton Road where Mom and Dad live. We had a shed, and we built a block building and kept adding to it,” he said. “Then in January of 1997 we bought this property here on U.S. 321. We moved here in February of 1998.”
Donny said the biggest decision they made in their business was when they bought that property. While Donny said he and his brother believed they would be successful at the new location, they knew it wouldn’t be easy. “We knew we had to work for it,” he said of being successful. “It has been fun.”
Donny said customers had made the business what it is. “Our customer loyalty has been excellent,” he said.
Farmer W.G. Shular of Sevierville has purchased four tractors from the Tyler Brothers in 30 years.
“When they started, they were selling out of their mom’s front yard. I like them, and I feel they’ve always done me right,” he said. “I’ve bought four tractors from them. I feel they’ve always done the best by me that they could do.”
Darrell said they also have three consignment auctions a year for new and used farm equipment which are open to the public.
Tyler Brothers sells to farmers, landscapers and homeowners. “We have a product to fit any agricultural or commercial need,” Darrell said, adding that the company’s employees are the key to their success.
“The employees always step up and fill the customer’s needs,” he said. “We give all the praise to our parents, and to the grace of God.”