Today, Deloss Machinery does about $1 million in bucket sales alone annually.
Around Southern California, they call him The Bucket King, and for good reason.
Ty Deloss has been selling buckets and attachments from his yard in Barstow, Calif., for half a century — his inventory of 1,000 buckets of all sizes may be the largest anywhere in the country, and his stock of other attachments is nearly as large. In the market niche he began carving out for himself in 1965, he remains a force.
At 76, Deloss hasn’t missed a day of work in more than 11 years at the business he started out of a station wagon. “I started as a contractor,” he said, “and since I didn’t have a pickup, I worked out of my car. The only piece of equipment I had was my trusty wheel barrel, which I still have today.”
As his business grew, Deloss quickly saw a need for someone to supply buckets and other attachments to contractors like himself, and he gradually moved away from contracting and into equipment sales.
While Barstow doesn’t usually make a list of most desirable communities in California, the city turned out to be the perfect place for a used attachment dealership. The desert climate in Barstow is the perfect environment to preserve the iron in his yard, he said. Recently, Ty sold a bucket that had been in the yard for 19 years.
Though not well known outside of the Mohave region, Barstow also was right logistically for his business.
The city is a major transportation center for the area of Southern California known as the Inland Empire. Two interstates, 15 and 40, converge in the city, and Union Pacific railroad runs through town. The close proximity to the ports in Long Beach offer an advantage for long distance shipping as well. The city sits at the midway point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, approximately 125 mi. (201.2 km) from each.
Today, Deloss Machinery does about $1 million in bucket sales alone annually. It also sells a wide range of other attachments and is a dealer of Falco, Paladin, JRB and Steel Unlimited.
Ron Partridge, who manages Ritchie Brothers’s Perris, Calif., location, has known Deloss for more than 25 years. “Ty knows more about buckets than anyone in the world, he said. “In fact, if I was confused about any kind of attachment, I’d call Ty.”
Partridge is quick to point out that Deloss is more than just an expert in his chosen field. He is also a “very savvy buyer and a marketer extraordinaire” he said.
Once at a Ritchie auction in Perris, Deloss placed stickers with his phone number on every bucket for sale in the yard. “He figured that anyone who bought a bucket at our sale might also buy a bucket from him,” Partridge said.
Chris Anderson, also of Richie Brothers, said most buyers at their sales know Deloss. “When our buckets go on sale late in the day, Ty plays a big role. He knows our business as well as any customer I have.”
He added that Deloss has also been a seller at the auction. “He recently consigned about 20 buckets to us. During the time leading up to the buckets going up for sale, he was out there with a tape measure, making sure our description of every piece was accurate. “
Currently Deloss Machinery employs nine people, most of them as passionate about buckets as their leader.
Donna Nash, who has been with Deloss for 9 years, shares responsibility for both buying and selling.
“Donna really knows her business too,” Anderson said.
Located at 1641 W. Main St. in Barstow, Deloss specializes in more than just buckets. It also has ripper shanks for excavators and dozers along with thumbs, fork attachments, compaction wheels, hydraulic and mechanical couplers for excavators, asphalt cutting wheels, towable compactors, bedding conveyors, water towers and slopeboards.
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