In June 1963, Gerald Van Enkenvort decided to start a fire and
safety equipment business. The original name was J. Van Sales and
was changed to Van's Fire & Safety, Inc. in 1968 and Gerald
decided to make it easier for suppliers and customers; thus Gary
The company started with a 1962 Ford Econo-line van offering one
of the first mobile recharging services in northeast Wisconsin.
From 1962 through 1965 the business was run out of the home with
two employees for the first three years.
With the addition of three vehicles by 1968 and focus on sales
and customer service, an office an shop area were opened in 1968
with the help of a friend, Len Melnark at 2065 Gross Avenue. As the
business grew and expanded in the area, coverage and products
handled shifted to commercial and industrial protection.
The Ansul product line was taken on in 1968 which changed our
focus to commercial and industrial. 1969 brought in OSHA and 1970
code enforcement brought an additional work load and product
In 1974, the property was purchased and warehouse built at 787
Potts Avenue. With this expansion came additional trucks and
employees. These employees and partners took a very active role and
participated in every school and training program available to make
them the top of the line in customer service of our products.
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