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The Gensco Story

The Gensco Story

After serving his country with distinction in World War II as a B-17 pilot, Gene Walters, a Tacoma native, believed that he could and should establish a wholesale heating business in Tacoma, Washington. Gene Walters envisioned the need to serve local heating, sheet metal, heating oil, and oil services dealers in Tacoma and the surrounding communities.

In 1948, with a $500 investment from his grandmother, Gene Walters was the first new hire at Gensco. He worked hard over the years, building his company with a simple work ethic: providing his customers with quality products and services the first time, every time. He initially delivered products out of his station wagon and made personal calls to individuals and businesses that needed his goods and services. He was a local source with products and inventory available for immediate delivery, while the competition was 30 or more miles away, sometimes days away. Location was not the only thing making him a success, he stocked the products customers needed, delivered them, priced products fairly, and was courteous, warm, and friendly, always providing excellent customer service. This proved to be a formula for success.

Eventually, Gensco expanded its operations to include multiple locations over the years, including the creation of Columbia Manufacturing, providing superior sheet metal products to Gensco customers.

The original Gensco storefront

In 1978, Gene brought his son, Charlie Walters, into the family business. Under Charlie’s leadership, Gensco focused on continuing the tradition of excellent customer service and the business thrived. Gensco has grown from a man selling parts out of his car to 25 branches, two distribution centers, a manufacturing division, and over 900 team members.

The Walters family’s vision for growth has always been to have an excellent inventory of products and to have those products and services be as close to the customer as possible. The third generation of the Walters family, Chris Walters, Ryan Walters, and Bret van den Heuvel, are now leading Gensco, thriving on the tradition of excellent customer service while remaining a family-first business focused on a family-first culture.

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