Who We Are
D.T. MCCALL AND SONS HISTORY
The history of D. T. McCall and Sons spans parts of three centuries, and the McCalls have been in the middle Tennessee area even longer. Alexander McCall (1765-1833), an Ulster Scot, left County Armagh in northern Ireland in the latter part of the 1700’s and eventually settled in Rome, Tennessee near Carthage. He had ten children, one of which was named David Thomas McCall (1813-1851).
Some of his children remained in the area and eventually a descendant named Albert (approx. 1851-1940) started a general store in Flat Rock, Tennessee near Rome. He and his wife Icie sold groceries, farm implements, wood stoves and many other items there beginning in the late 1800’s. One of Albert’s sons, David Thomas "D. T." McCall (1900-1985) rented a small portion of a building on the square in Carthage in the mid 1920’s as a place to receive shipments and began selling milking machines and Corn King mineral products out of his horse and wagon.
As time went on D.T. McCall expanded his offerings and eventually bought the building on the square where the main headquarters of D.T. McCall and Sons is presently located. D.T. began selling appliances after one customer right after World War II asked if D.T. could get him a refrigerator. Goods were scarce at the time but D.T. said he could get one. He wrote letters to several appliance manufacturers and finally received a reply from Westinghouse Corporation stating he could get a refrigerator. That was in 1946 and McCall’s is still a dealer of their products (now Electrolux Home Products) with annual sales of $5 Million from Electrolux alone.
As business improved D.T. began recruiting his sons into the business. Albert, who served in the Korean War as an Army Artillery officer after obtaining a Master’s Degree, Dave, and John all joined the company in the 1950’s and 60’s, and Albert took over as president. As business improved John took over furniture and carpet, Dave began selling central heat and air and a few employees were added. In 1973 Tom McCall, a nephew of Albert (son of Frank) was sent to Lafayette to open a second location. In the late 1970’s Albert began advertising on the Ralph Emery show and D.T. McCall and Sons became a household name in middle Tennessee. Cris and Mark McCall, both sons of Dave, and J.J. McCall (son of John) and Albert "A.J." McCall II (Albert’s son) joined the team in the 1980’s. Cris opened the third location in Cookeville in 1987.
A.J. McCall, after obtaining a degree in Mechanical and Materials Engineering from Vanderbilt, serving in the United States Army as a Tactical Intelligence officer, and becoming a licensed attorney and working for a time as a practicing lawyer, took over appliance service and shortly thereafter began doing the purchasing of appliances, electronic, and lawn and garden. Appliance sales increased dramatically around this time, going from $2 million to $8 million annually very quickly. A.J. obtained a Cub Cadet dealership for the store in the mid 1990s and D.T. McCall and Sons soon became one of the top ten Cub Cadet dealerships in the United States.
By this time (around 2000) annual sales were approaching $20 million and the fourth location was opened in Lebanon. Tom Morris, sales manager for the Carthage store was dispatched to Lebanon to operate the store. Sales kept improving over the years steadily with more up years than down years.
In 2007 A.J. McCall formally took over as Managing General Partner while continuing to purchase just over half of the total merchandise. The Carthage store was updated, the truck fleet was improved, and debt was drastically reduced. In 2007-08 an updated plan for advertising together with store improvements led to record sales in those years. As the economy slowed McCall’s quickly outpaced its competitors with its reduced debt and more efficient and productive use of advertising funds. Today the company is more solid than ever, with lower debt, more sound and updated buildings and a reliable truck fleet, all accomplished in the middle of economic uncertainty.