by Ted Brown
Contractors Service Company is a family business, started in 1948 when my dad, Cliff Brown, purchased a warehouse full of surplus parts. His dad and their new partner Bailey Wyers had extensive Caterpillar experience, so they immediately sold off the CAT parts.
The other lines—especially cranes—formed the core of the business. CSC became one of the country’s best-known surplus crane parts companies.
Dad’s right-hand man, Ralph Hurd, started dismantling CSC’s cranes in 1962 at our old yard and WWII warehouse in Riverside, California. I had grown up in the business and went to work full-time for Dad in 1963, except for my years in the Navy during Viet Nam. In those days, we distributed crane parts and excavation supplies, including teeth, wire rope, and accessories. After Dad’s death in 1969, I became CSC’s president.
Together with Jerry South, we formed a sister company in Eugene, Oregon in 1970, called Emerald West Equipment Parts. I moved north with my wife and kids, and General Manager Jess Wright held down the fort at CSC’s Riverside headquarters. Our focus moved away from crane and shovel lines—except for P&H, which always remained a specialty. I am now in retirement, and we still have some P&H parts for sale.
Both stores added Clark parts to their inventory and expertise, selling parts for loaders, skidders, cranes, and minescoops, with Dave Bonine and Jim Perry leading the charge. (Continues below)
CSC moved headquarters to our beautiful new location in the late 1980s, including offices, shop, yard, our new teardown shop, and a 24,000-square-foot warehouse building. I sold out of Emerald West and brought on a bright new employee: Bill Schaffer, the husband of my niece Cynthia, and future president of CSC.
The nineties saw CSC expanding. We sold our Clark parts business to Associated Crane, and began developing North America’s finest Japanese and Korean excavator parts service, with extensive Asian sources and the largest inventory of final drives on the continent. We also started a Mexican location to distribute Clark parts from CSC-Mexico’s warehouse in Querétaro, managed by Juan Manuel Gutierrez, and opened a new warehouse in Oregon.
In 1996, Bill Schaffer became president of CSC, and I became chairman. Tragedy struck June 6, 2001, when Bill was killed at age 37, riding his beloved Harley. We all miss him very much. I took the helm again, working with Dave Bonine, Danny Graham, Marc Bien, Sue Murawski, and Cynthia Beltran and our other great employees to develop Contractors Service Company.
Then came our proud partnership with H&R Parts of Buffalo, New York. H&R purchased CSC’s entire excavator and mini-excavator business, forming H&R West in Riverside, California, and employing some of CSC’s finest staff.
In recent years, we have said goodbye to some old friends, co-workers who made CSC a solid family business with strong roots in California and Oregon history. We miss Dave Bonine, Johnny Johnson, and Jess Wright and thank them for their years of friendship and dedication.
I am nearly retired nowadays, working to liquidate our remaining inventory. Contractors Service Company has been a wonderful business for nearly 60 years, and we’re dedicated to upholding our tradition. We thank you, our dealers, customers, and friends, for being part of it.