Shealy’s Truck Center celebrates 75 years as Mack truck dealer in Columbia
When the Shealy family sold their first Mack truck, the buyer was able to fill it up for 18 cents per gallon. Prices have changed since then, and so have the trucks, but the Shealys’ business is still going strong in Columbia.
Shealy Truck Center celebrated its 75th anniversary as a Mack truck dealer Wednesday with a party at the South Carolina State Museum. The family business started eight years earlier as a garage for truck repairs at the corner of Sumter and Washington Streets in downtown Columbia. The company moved to North Main Street in 1936, and on April 1, 1940, founder James H. “Bo” Shealy signed an agreement to become the official Mack truck dealer for Columbia and 13 counties nearby.
The business has only had two leaders since its founder retired in 1972, and it’s all stayed in the family. “I’m second generation,” current company president Bruce Shealy said Wednesday. “My daughter Keri is third generation.”
Bruce Shealy’s father, Carl Shealy, took over as president when Bo Shealy (Carl’s brother) retired in 1972. Carl Shealy led the company until his death in 1984. Bruce Shealy and his brother David then stepped in, and Bruce has served as president and David as vice president ever since.
Wednesday’s festivities included a chance for guests to pose for pictures beside a 1940 Mack truck, parked in front of the museum for the occasion. Bruce Shealy said nearly everything has changed since his uncle began selling that model.
“It’s phenomenal. The changes have been quantum,” he said. “The trucks are very sophisticated. We can do real time tracking now.” The company moved into its current headquarters on Bluff Road in 1979 and has expanded into the Upstate and into North Carolina, but Columbia has always been its home.
“The community has been very good. Mack Truck has been good. We’ve been blessed in a lot of ways,” Bruce Shealy said. He added that with 75 years down, Shealy Truck Center is ready for just as many more.