Delta Materials Handling, Inc. began in 1947 as the Fred J. Vandemark Company. Fred Vandemark was a former automotive executive who relocated to Memphis in the late 1930s. He was a personal friend of Ezra and Eugene Clark, the founders of Clark Equipment Company. The Clarks were marketing a three-wheeled, gas-powered vehicle that could transport heavy products within a factory. This "iron mule," known as the Clark Tructractor, was the forerunner of the modern forklift.

At the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Vandemark was called into consultation by the United States Government to help develop solutions to materials handling projects. Mr. Vandemark promoted the advantages of the Clark Tructractor, and the government saw that it was a way to swiftly and efficiently move mass amounts of products. The Clark Tructractor became a "secret weapon" in the war and a solution to the logistics presented in fighting a war on a worldwide scale. During the war, the Clark Equipment Company's production increase from approximately 70 Tructractors per month to as many as 2,500 per month.

When the war ended in 1945, Fred Vandemark became the official Clark sales agent in Memphis and the Mid-south. In 1947 he and Richard Buchignani, a service engineer, opened their office in downtown Memphis in the Dermon Building. The Fred J. Vandemark Company included a full time sales representative, a mechanic, parts personnel, and a parts inventory.

During the post war years, the forklift was a revolutionary product for the warehouse uses because it required few labor hours to move large amounts of materials or products. One of the first users of the forklift was Federal Compress and Warehouse Company, which purchased its first unit in 1948 to handle large bales of cotton. Since 1948 Federal Compress has purchased more that 700 units from Delta Materials Handling and is still one of Delta's largest accounts.

By 1949, the company moved into a modern forklift facility at 1110 Union Avenue. Six years later, with both Clark Equipment Company and the Fred J. Vandemark Company growing, another move was necessary. So in 1955 they moved to 185 E. Butler Avenue.

In 1960 Vandemark sold the company to Vic Vandevoir, a Clark factory representative, Willie Sherman and Maury Soltz, two partners in the Ross Carrier franchise in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Vandemark died in January 1980, at the age of 88.

The new partners decided to give the company a new name that described its function and location. The name Delta Materials Handling, Inc. was chosen both because of being situated in the Mississippi delta and because of the Greek letter and triangle symbol that represented the three owners. The three set out to make Delta the most complete materials handling company in the Mid-south. Some of their first achievements were establishing the first Planned Maintenance (P.M.) programs, introducing long-term leasing with full maintenance, and the introduction of other warehouse products that complemented its offering of Clark Equipment. Delta established itself as a one-stop, full service materials handling company.

The company made another move in 1964, this time into a new, modern warehouse facility in the Bellbrook Industrial Park. The company was now providing employment for 40 Mid Southerners. Joe Costa, former national rental and leasing manager for the Clark Equipment Company, purchased an interest in the dealership. By 1974 Costa bought out the other partners, and to this day Delta remains a family owned and operated business. In 1972 and 1973, Delta opened full service branches in Jackson, Tennessee and Tupelo, Mississippi to better serve those customers outside Memphis. The Jonesboro, Arkansas branch opened in 1977.

Delta started to take shape in 1979 when a plot of land at the corner of Shelby Drive and Clarke Road was purchased. Costa went about designing the most modern material handling sales and service facility south of Chicago, with one acre under roof. Clarke Road and Shelby Drive has been home to Delta since January 26, 1980.

As president, Costa watched the company's sales and product offerings multiply in the past three decades. By 1994, Delta was a true full-service dealer that provides every product a customer could possibly need to equip a warehouse. Forklift lines have grown from Clark to include Mitsubishi, Linde, Bendi, Drexel, Princeton. Delta can design a system and outfit a facility from the dock through to the last storage rack.

Delta provides 24-hour emergency service as well as parts and service for all types of forklifts. More than 94 percent of replacement parts are available on a same-day basis, and even the most difficult-to-find parts can be delivered within 48 hours. The Delta catalog features thousands of warehouse products - everything from a 92,000-pound-capacity forklift to a two-wheel hand truck. The company also owns a rental fleet in excess of 700 forklifts, available by the day, week, or month.

Being a good corporate citizen is a high priority with Delta. The company is involved in a number of community and charitable organizations, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Christian Brothers University, and the St. Jude Golf Classic.

Committed to the businesses and individuals it serves throughout the Mid-South, Delta Materials Handling, Inc. is planning for the next century and will continue its leadership role for many years to come.