Heavy hitter makes business move to Tulare

Members of the city, county and Ritchie Bros. taking the first dig on the project site, signifying the start of construction.(Courtesy of the city of Tulare)

Ritchie Bros., a globally known equipment auctioneering company, breaks ground on new 65 acre facility in Tulare, brings substantial sales tax revenue to the city

TULARE – As Tulare continues its city wide expansion, a global heavy equipment sales company is making its way into the city limits, breaking ground on a new facility in the city’s southwest quadrant of town.

On Nov. 15, members of city and county staff joined together with Ritchie Bros. to break ground on the company’s expansive 65-acre project. Ritchie Bros. is a global asset management and disposition company who sells used and new construction, agricultural, industrial and transportation equipment, trucks and other assets.

“Ritchie Brothers is an internationally recognized company, the city is very fortunate to have the opportunity to affiliate ourselves with such a well-respected brand,” Tulare City Manager Marc Mondell said.

The company is currently leasing property in Tipton and according to the company’s property manager, Tim Kander, they are hopeful construction will be complete on the site in about a year. The project is located in the southwest portion of Tulare near Avenue 200 and Highway 99.

“Their investment will result in a number of new jobs for our citizens, contracting work for our local companies and sales tax revenue for the city, which will help to maintain necessary public services,” Mondell said.

ritchie-bros-mayor-sayre-47-23-sub
Tulare Mayor Terry Sayre presenting Ritchie Bros. with a certificate at the groundbreaking ceremony. (Courtesy of the city of Tulare)

The project itself consists of the construction of an industrial auction facility that will include several different pieces. There will be a 5,500-square-foot auction/administration building; 2,000-square-foot yard office; 500-square-foot check-in building; 6,000-square-foot wash pad; 51.76 acre display area and a freeway-oriented sign.  The company has awarded the construction contract to American, Inc.

“The Central Valley is one of the areas that we’ve committed to and done business with,” Kander said. “It serves the agricultural community very well and it’s been a great success for Ritchie Bros.”

This project has been a long time coming for the company. Not long after Ritchie Bros. made their appearance in Tipton in 2010, they purchased the 65 acres. The plan was to develop the land for the purpose of developing a permanent auction facility and equipment display yard, according to Traci Myers, Tulare’s executive director of economic development. However, due to the economy and other on-goings within the company, the project was put on hold until 2022.

“We reinitiated our conversations with the town of Tulare and with Traci’s help, and with local engineering firm, Lane Engineers, and help from Teter Architects, we were able to get slightly modified plans from what we had originally had approved back around 2012, to a new version that fits the new world, we are in post-COVID,” Kander said.

As the pieces began to fall together again last year, they had to make some alterations to the project to accommodate some major changes in the auctioneering business since the pandemic. The original plans included a theater for auctioning purposes, where interested parties could come examine their potential buys and then bid with a live auctioneer. Now, bidding is done virtually, leaving several theaters sitting unused throughout the country.

The company’s global network includes 40 permanent auction sites around the world and operations in 13 countries. As it continues to expand, the Tulare facility is one of three facilities the company is currently building. The other two are in Amaranth, Ontario and Plainfield Conn. Ritchie Bros. sells billions of dollars of heavy equipment and trucks each year via its multiple selling platforms.

History

According to the Ritchie Bros. website, the business began as a small family-run business in Kelowna, BC, Canada in 1958. The brothers soon progressed beyond furniture and began conducting more regular auctions.

In 1963 they conducted their first major unreserved industrial auction in BC, selling US $600,000 worth of equipment. Within the 1970s, they then made their move to the U.S., as well as created the first permanent auction facility. In 1987 they held their first auction in Europe, followed by Australia in 1990, Asia in 1994, the Middle East in 1997 and China in 2013. 

They have since gone from their first U.S. $1 billion year in 1998 to their first U.S. $1 billion quarter in 2008. And in 2014, with the help of online services, they hit their first $4 billion year and they only continue to expand. With the Tulare facility, Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Inc. will have the whole state of California covered. Their other facilities in the state are located in Perris and Dunnigan.

Start typing and press Enter to search