“It’s very effective,” says Vandermeer. “It catches a lot of people’s eyes at malls and fairs. It’s something people aren’t expecting. People are very surprised to see fireplaces burning inside a hot rod van with mag wheels. They are curious about who built it and how it was done. It’s usually easy to break the ice with people when they are in that mood.”
The dealer started with a standard van and then bought material from a company that sells aircraft metal and used it to make the van’s doors. Vandermeer brought everything up to code and then added a custom interior and paint job. Lastly, the three most popular fireplaces were installed in the van, and Vandermeer hit the road. So far, the project has been a success for the dealer. Fireplace sales at his shop have gone up by 25%. Vandermeer will be looking for more exposure by taking his “Fire on Wheels” van to area ski lodges.
Publication date: 10/22/2001