Fire on Wheels is a custom-made van that has three working gas fireplaces which he drives to area shopping malls, fairs and home shows. He credits the eye-catching van for increasing his fireplace sales by 25%. Other sales are up too, for equipment displayed side-by-side in this mobile showroom.
Vandermeer said he came up with the idea about a year ago. “It’s unique. Other dealers have trailers and they are fairly simple. I wanted something that was self-propelled and more eye-catching.”
Fire on Wheels started out as a 1989 standard GMC van. Vandermeer bought material from a company that sells aircraft metal and used it to make the van’s doors. He built everything to code, adding a customer interior and paint job. Finally, he installed the three most popular fireplaces – and the van was ready to hit the road. “It’s easy. I just drive up and open the doors and everything works,” Vandermeer said. “There’s no special preparation involved. It’s all ready to go.”
This winter, Fire on Wheels will be on the road to a new destination. Vandermeer will use it to “break the ice” at ski lodges.