HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Underground coal miners have a place to buy Caterpillar-brand equipment and parts in Perry County.
The move could benefit area mines at a time when many of them are struggling financially.
Whayne Supply Company has served Southeastern Kentucky surface miners with Caterpillar-brand machinery and equipment for 25 years. But not until now has the dealership been able to cater to underground miners.
“It's real big. We have been working now for at least a year or better trying to get this product and we're going to be selling underground mining equipment,” Don Porter said.
Becoming the first Cat-dealership in the country to do so.
Tim Embry said he's already talked to several underground coal operators in the region and that they're very excited about being able to come here for service.
“We think we will increase their up time by having parts available and ready for them. We will have the expertise here local for when they do have issues,” Embry said.
Saving money that otherwise would be spent on underground mining equipment and service from out of state.
“With underground miners, I don't know that they've had that opportunity to pick up the phone or drive in to Hazard and get a part when they need it and now they can,” Porter said.
It’s a positive message for an otherwise struggling industry.
Whayne Supply underwent more than $100,000 in renovations to accommodate the new products.