Great State: Medley Lifts

Great State
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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — When it comes to heavy lifting, carrying big things, or stacking huge loads, companies make machines for that now. Mark Medley, just like his dad Bill, grew up selling them. “Yes we do,” says company president Mark as he walks onto a huge shop and showroom floor. Bill Medley quips, “Most people haven’t the foggiest idea what business we’re in.”

Bill’s dad Joe Medley started out in Oklahoma City selling cars. A contact at church got him a job selling industrial scales. Then in 1941 Joe opened a little store at 5th and Hudson in Oklahoma City. He had Bill hit the streets to sell hand trucks. “I was embarrassed and scared. I didn’t know who I was going to sell it to but I did it.”

Neither Bill or Mark, the next generation, were so sure about joining the family business. Bill thought about becoming a newscaster. Mark thought about going to law school. Smarter people told them to stick with what they knew. “On our honeymoon, I decided to come back home and give it a shot,” recalls Bill.

Bill dated his wife in the old company panel truck. They’ve been married now for 60 years. Mark kicked around the old office starting at age 4. As Oklahoma grew from agrarian to industrial Medley Materials Handling helped with the heavy lifting, first with truck scales, carts, hand trucks, and then forklifts.

The Medley’s still keep an old, monthly profit and loss sheet. It’s in his mother’s handwriting dated December, 1950. They lost money that month. “$750.00,” Bill reads. But the Medleys turned it around. “We did $4 million in sales this month,” smiles Mark.

They’ve been in this big building since 1980, many with the same employees. Family stayed close too. Mark has a sister who works here. Two of his kids, Marissa and Ryan both know how to stick with a good thing too. “How long have you worked here,” asks a visitor? “8 years,” says Ryan.

The old panel truck that Bill used to court his wife is a king of company mascot now. It’s picture hangs all over the company headquarters. Machines might change but the idea behind lifting heavy things doesn’t. No one can do it alone, which is what has always made the Medley’s so handy to have around.

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