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 Van.
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 growth.
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.