When Granite Ridge Builders Design Coordinator Kayla Stuart works with clients to help turn their new houses into homes, one of her go-to partners is Doug Dick and his team at Van’s Home Center in Auburn, Indiana.
“They are the best appliance company that I have ever worked with, and we’ve worked with many. From the customer service to product offering to great prices, they stand out in every area. They’re very easy to get ahold of and the delivery team does a really good job of taking care of our homes,” says Stuart. “They have an amazing showroom, too. It’s important for our clients to have a hands-on experience with what they’re purchasing and not just look online or at a catalog.”
In fact, almost every large builder in northeast Indiana partners with Van’s for their appliance needs, and many are now turning to them for their flooring needs as well.
At Van’s, customers can find nearly every brand of major home appliance, including the area’s largest display of luxury brands like Sub-Zero and Miele. Van’s has furniture for every room of your home, a large selection of mattresses, flooring and tile, and even cabinets and countertops. It’s a one-stop destination, whether you need to freshen up one room, or if you’re building or remodeling an entire home. Over the past five decades the company has grown, adapted and innovated while staying true to the principles upon which it was founded: Quality products, competitive prices and exceptional customer service.
The story of Van’s Home Center began 50 years ago this month, when Van Dick and his wife Mary Lou opened a small television repair shop in Angola, Indiana. He later started to sell TVs and then expanded to appliances. The couple’s son Doug, now the second-generation owner, fondly remembers working in the family business throughout high school and college. The store eventually moved to Auburn in 1995 and Doug took over managing the company. In 2005, a new showroom was built in its current location. Now, a new 100,000-square-foot distribution center is being added, more than doubling the size of the store.
“Our warehousing is split amongst three different buildings. This new distribution center is going to facilitate our future growth and improve back-of-the-house efficiencies by bringing operations under one roof,” explains Dick. “We’ll also be able to buy better and stock deeper.”
The showroom underwent a major remodel in 2018, but Dick says they’re constantly updating, changing and adding new displays. The live kitchen showroom means customers at Van’s can experience appliance features and functionality while getting an idea of what the complete kitchen design could look like. “It’s set up just like what you would see in a house, so people are able to come in here and gain inspiration,” he says.
Like Stuart, Frank Souder has come to rely on Van’s expertise, competitive pricing and exceptional customer service.
“When we’re designing a house, we take the client to the showroom or I collaborate with Doug on the correct appliances for their needs, and we can pick out flooring at the same time,” says Souder, the founder and principal of Frank Souder Designs, a Fort Wayne-based company specializing in interior and exterior design in residential and commercial spaces.
“If they don’t have it, Doug will find it. If something’s wrong, he’ll fix it. He’s 100% trustworthy,” Souder stresses. “I trust his knowledge and that he’s going to deliver for our clients. In addition, his warehousing allows him to get things a little faster. It’s very obvious he’s passionate about what he does.”
Shelly Schmidt, the director of client services for the NFL division of Independent Sports & Entertainment, started working with Dick about 20 years ago and now partners with him and
the Van’s team to meet the challenging needs of NFL players who travel or relocate frequently.
“They set up and install everything for the home, and the thing I like most about Van’s is that you get customer service directly from them,” she says. “You’re not trying to call someone else for help.”
Over the years, Van’s has grown from just three employees to more than 65. Dick is excited to have his sons, Evan and Max, working alongside him as third-generation owners. His sister Julie is the sales manager. Many employees are extended family members and even those who aren’t actual family, still feel like family. Husbands and wives work together on the team, along with parents who work with their adult children.
Employees have the knowledge and expertise needed to provide customers with a one-of-a-kind, white glove shopping experience before, during and after the sale. Van’s also has its own delivery, service and installation teams, so it has more control over making sure every interaction is a positive one, including getting the best price.
“One of the things you’ll notice is that we have digital price tags. We do that because we monitor the market every single day and our prices are adjusted automatically. That way, we know we are priced right and as inexpensive as anywhere in northeastern Indiana, and you get the added value of a customer-focused, knowledgeable sales staff, along with our in-house delivery, installation and service — and it doesn’t cost you any more money,” Dick says.
Reflecting back on the last 50 years, Dick states, “Countless customers have told us what we’ve built is truly unique. I think people who shop with us for the first time are a little surprised when they walk in, simply because of the incredible range of products and services we offer. No matter your budget or personal style, we have something to suit any room and every home.”
In addition to the main location in Auburn, Van’s operates a value center in Angola just about a mile from the original location. “We love that everything has come full circle,” comments Dick. “Fifty years after starting Van’s TV on West Maumee Street, we now have a second location in Angola back on West Maumee Street. What’s even better is that Van and Mary Lou are in that store every day, serving many of the same customers that have done business with us for the last five decades.”
Customers like Shelly Schmidt say it best. “I don’t give a lot of kudos unless somebody truly deserves it,” she says effusively. “The bar has been set so high by Doug and his team at Van’s Home Center.”
Address: 106 Peckhart Court, Auburn, Indiana 46706
Phone: (260) 927-8267