In 1935, G.W. Young applied for a transportation license from the CA State Board of Equalization. After 78 years, we are still growing!
Sometime around 1930, G.W. Young settled his family in Porterville and proceeded to begin a trucking business with his son J.R. Young. My grandfather, G.W. Young, and J.R., then about 15 years old, bought a truck. I’ve never seen a picture of that first truck, but by the standards in those days, it couldn’t have been much more than a small bobtail. They would go to the dairies, load fertilizer and spread it by hand in the orange groves. Not very easy or glamorous, but hard work was expected in those days. There was no such thing as power equipment to do the work.
In 1935, G.W. Young applied for a license to haul for hire (Board of Equalization permit which you can now see in this brochure). At 19 years old, J.R. took to the business seriously and purchased a small trucking business from J.B. Lowery named Commercial Transfer. Commercial Transfer, specializing in the transportation of agricultural commodities, was in operation before 1910 in Lindsay, California. J.R. changed the name to Young’s Commercial Transfer and, for the first few years, continued to operate the business from Lindsay in a shared office with the Wells Fargo Freight Co. It was not long before J.R. moved the business to the Olive Street location in Porterville where it has continued to operate until 2009.
The year was 1945, and I was two years old when we moved to the Olive Street property. Our home was on the same property right next to the office and the shop. It was a great way to grow up. Always interesting people around, truck drivers smoking and talking about trucks, horsepower, and harrowing experiences during World War II. The shop was a world of truck parts, grease, oil, tires, cigar smoke, and colorful language of the mechanics. I grew up hearing trucks come and go day or night. If my mother needed someone to keep an eye on me, it would usually be a mechanic or a driver.
Oranges from the local packing houses were the first major commodity Young’s Commercial Transfer hauled. During World War II, the United States government hired Young’s to haul agricultural produce into Fort Ord for the Army. This was not a very glamorous job during the war, but soldiers eat a lot of potatoes. During the 50’s and through the 60’s, the economy was ever expanding. It was definitely a time of growth. J.R. continued to build the business around agriculture, hauling oranges, potatoes, grapes, peaches and tomatoes. He established and ran a trucking company that was known throughout the state of California for its integrity and customer service.
My father would take me with him much of the time to visit customers and to learn what I could by just watching. He always planned on me being in the business. From about the age of 13 I drove a forklift during the summer months loading trucks. I always enjoyed working and wasn’t interested in school other than the fun in High School. I enjoyed a lot of freedom and wanted to be on my own as soon as possible. At the age of 18, I married my wife, and went to work. In 1966, my father J.R., died in a tragic accident, when I was just 22 years old. Faced with a lot of responsibility quickly, I just had to do the best I could with what I knew.
During the 70’s we expanded with terminals in Imperial, Bakersfield, Porterville and Fresno. I went into these areas mainly to haul cotton. At one time we hauled more bales of cotton than anyone in the State of California – probably in the whole U.S. The 80’s were not kind. Customers cut back and competition got tougher. I closed all terminals except Porterville and began a rebuilding. The 90’s were a much better decade. Our business expanded into tomato industry and today Young’s Commercial Transfer is the largest for-hire hauler of tomatoes in the United States. The company has continued through good times and bad. With persistence, a great customer base and loyal employees, we have been successful.
It is extremely difficult for any business to survive for three generations. It can only happen with hard work, planning, determination, and luck doesn’t hurt. I am extremely proud of what has been accomplished in the past 75 years, and what the future may hold for this family and Young’s Commercial Transfer.