On October 15, 1930, Gerritt Vanderstelt and his son Henry opened Van’s full service gas station at 1087 W. Laketon Avenue in Muskegon. Little did they know that their franchise would eventually expand to five locations and their services would ultimately grow to include not only gas stations, but highly successful quick lube services, repair centers and car washes.
Henry Vanderstelt took over the company after his father’s passing. In 1979 Henry retired and his sons Gary and John took over the reins of the family business which also included a car wash as gas station on Sherman Boulevard. In 1987, Gary decided to retire from the business and sold the original location on Laketon Avenue, while his brother John continued to own and operate the full service Sherman location..
John Vanderstelt and his wife Sharon ran Van’s Car Was until 2003, when John decided to retire from the day to day operations of the business and two of their sons, Mike and Jerry remain as the co-owners and operators of the company and the family atmosphere of the family continues as Mike’s wife Diane and Jerry’s wife Claudia step in to help out as needed.
According to Jerry Vanderstelt, having a friendly and knowledgeable staff onsite is what separates Van’s from so many other car washes. “Each customer deserves special treatment; it makes the experience more personalized to have smiling workers on hand and if there is ever a question or concern there is always someone available to take care of the situation.” Jerry believes that was has made Van’s successful for so long is their standing commitment to customer service, “we do what we say we are going to do and we take care of our customers.”
Van’s uses quality Quaker State Oil in their lube shops, offers a free car wash with every oil change, and send out a notice and coupon for the customer’s three month oil change reminder. The Vanderstelts currently operate three locations in Muskegon County.