How do utility lines get underground? Everything from water, sewer, cable, fiber optic, phone lines, natural gas and even electric lines have to be laid under streets, through yards and beneath buildings. Those lines are laid using a trenching machine. That type of equipment, and an entire industry of manufacturing it, was invented in the 1940s by a small town company, Charles Machine Works.
Their Ditch Witch brand trenchers are used all over the world, but they are all still made in Perry, Oklahoma, population 5,000. Today, they’ve diversified into many other related construction equipment lines, and the company is still owned by the founding Malzahn family and the company’s 1300 employees.
Proud of their small town roots, the company website says, “the majority of our employees past and present have brought to their jobs the grit, work ethic and pride of ownership that come from growing up in rural America.”
Read more about the company on their website, in Orange Blood.
This article is part of our new series, Small Town, Big Company, where we profile companies that have started and stayed in small towns even while they’ve grown far beyond their local market. If you know a company we should include, hit reply or mention it in the comments below.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.