When Melvin Getz, founder of Getz Fire Equipment, answered an ad to be a part-time salesman, he probably never imagined it would turn into a successful business, still going strong after half a century. Melvin Getz was born and raised on a farm in the Eureka area.
One day after being drafted by the Army in 1954, he
was reading a magazine and happened to notice an advertisement to sell Presto fire extinguishers and earn $100 a week.Figuring it was worth a shot, he
ordered six.In two evenings, he
had sold them all.He
ordered 12 more, selling them in the first week and continuing on from there.
Upon returning home from the service in 1956, he
became a distributor for Red Comet Fire Extinguishers.When he
discovered that CO2-type fire extinguishers were only filled by a single company in central Illinois, he
became convinced that there must be a better way to serve businesses in Peoria.That same year, he
was named "Red Comet Man of the Year" for selling the most Red Comet fire extinguishers in the United States.After that success, in 1957, Getz Fire Equipment
would sell to businesses and industrial accounts during the day and work in the shop at night refilling and doing hydrostatic testing of extinguishers.
now owns Glass House Carwash, where he
greets customers and takes care of overall maintenance.
"We get involved in the early stages of construction of commercial buildings, working with architects and engineers on the specifications of extinguishers, fire extinguisher cabinets, fire alarms and special hazard systems," Getz
said."We then sell this equipment to general mechanical and electrical contractors depending upon what type of fire protection device they might represent.Once the equipment is installed, we would then work with the building owner to set up a service and maintenance schedule." He
also offers tips on how to keep your home safe."We recommend that when extinguishers in the home become 12 years old, it is a good time to replace them and use them for a training tool after purchasing a new one," Getz
said."Also, there are smoke alarms in the home which have become so sophisticated that they can have a pre-recorded voice as well as the detectors tied together so that if one goes into alarm, they all sound.In addition to smoke alarms, the new requirement as of January is to have a carbon monoxide detector located in the home within 15 feet of all sleeping areas." Getz
says that people are often surprised to find out that Getz Fire Equipment
offers so many services.
"Being in business 50 years seems like a long time, but it goes by quickly," Getz