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Our Long Road Home
By Butch Ellis

This is a story about one company's journey home. In 1975, amid economic predictions of gloom and doom, Lansing Sanitary Supply was founded in Lansing, Michigan. Despite the warnings against borrowing capital or starting a new venture, we forged ahead in June of that year, headquartered in the basement and garage of my home. Products were stored between bicycles and the lawn mower, and we kept records and sent bills from the kitchen table. We even had a showroom set up in the basement, but no customers to show!

"It does our hearts good to see the success that years of hard work, commitment and patience have brought." So I hit the streets. Notebook in one hand, demo case in the other, I called on businesses all over town. One of those was Popoff meat Company. During my meeting with Don Popoff, he asked where I was warehousing my products and I told him my garage - but it was full and I would soon need a new place. Don offered the second floor of his building at 1214 South Washington Avenue.

Home Sweet Home
In October, 1975, we moved to our new home at the Popoff Meat Company building, complete with a small office area, warehouse space and use of a loading dock. Never mind that the warehouse was an old meat cooler - we were delighted! We unloaded products onto the loading dock, ducked and dodged between swinging beef, and headed to the freight elevator to second floor. We stayed until August, 1977.

No Place Like Home
One of our customers for professional cleaning products and services was Lansing Ice & Fuel Company, which operated a contract cleaning division. Our friend at L.I.F. was Jim Ruetter, who had already purchased a bulk fuel filling plant at 711 Center Street. On the site was a white block building - 3,000 square feet - which became our headquarters.

Having our own building marked an important step in our growth, and we were thrilled. But soon, we had outgrown our facility, and so, with the office and showroom staying put, we moved our warehouse to L.I.F.'s building at 911 Center Street. As our business grew, so did our need for warehouse space, until at last we had used every square inch available to us. That's when we learned what inventory turns were all about! We received shipments from product manufacturers for "just in time delivery"!

Home is Where the Heart Is
After years of moving from location to location, we realized Lansing Sanitary Supply needed a home all its own. The old Diamond Reo site seemed like the perfect spot. With its rich history of manufacturing in Lansing, and the productive past it recalled, the former Diamond Reo property would be an ideal place to build our facility.

We're especially proud to display some of that history in our Diamond Reo historical hallway, because it reminds us of the generations of relatives who worked on this site before us. One photo shows a group of Lebanese immigrant workers posing outside the Reo Motor Car Plant, including my grandfather, Kamil F. Adado, his brother Samuel, and other longtime friends. In fact, two of our own employees worked at Diamond Reo for many years: my sister, Nora Corey and our uncle, Louis "Blondy" Mokarzel. So, with all of its history, our hearts really are at home on the former Diamond Reo property.

We're equally proud of the beautiful new facility we built here. With 50,000 square feet, we're able to display goods and services we never could before, and includes an expanded showroom and our one-of-a-kind End User Training room, not to mention our state-of-the-art repair facility.

It does our hearts good to see the success that years of hard work, commitment and patience have brought. We're delighted that you're here today to share our celebration - a "homecoming" for Lansing Sanitary Supply.

If you would like to contact LSS Inc. or see more of our products, please call (800) 632-6333, or by email at

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