What happens when you’re the client of a business changing hands?
Agriculture in Oregon would not be able to operate without the many supporting businesses and industries that help finance, keep books, handle legal issues, supply fertilizer or treatments, and transport the goods you grow to the people who buy them. What happens, though, when the same person you have worked with for decades is no longer around? There isn’t always a clear plan for the next option, and trust is a precious commodity, especially when your life and livelihood is on the line.
For many in the Willamette Valley, Don Fleck of Safety & Compliance had been the go-to person for safety training and consultations as well as regular fire extinguisher servicing and sales. His death in the summer of 2022 left a big gap for his clients who had come to rely on Fleck’s business.
At Oregon Risk Management Solutions, Eric Lloyd had already been recommending Don Fleck for fire safety needs since that wasn’t something Lloyd or his team offered at the time. After the funeral, Lloyd’s safety customers reached out to him about their fire extinguishers. Fleck’s customers were wondering what they should do too, and Fleck’s family had the entire stock of extinguishers and other supplies left from the business.
“While we wish the circumstances could have been happier,” says Lloyd. “It was mutually beneficial for all parties involved for us to acquire his equipment and clients and start offering that service in his place.”
Thus, Oregon Fire Safety Solutions was born.
Based out of Mt. Angel, Oregon Fire Safety Solutions (OFSS) is a family-owned and operated business with its small team working mostly in the Willamette Valley. Eric Lloyd’s wife Stacie manages the business and coordinates daily operations. Bradly Grassman is lead technician, operating and maintaining all the equipment and doing much of the hands-on work with charging and repairing extinguishers. Manny Arrellin-Lara works on service calls and field visits, where being bilingual has allowed the company to better reach out to and assist the Spanish-speaking community in the Valley.
In addition to doing service and sales for fire extinguishers and related fire suppression and safety equipment, OFSS also conducts annual inspections on extinguishers to ensure they’re in compliance with the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) regulations. Keeping a well-maintained fire extinguisher that is also appropriate for your needs as a business or worksite can prevent costly citations from fire marshals or OSHA. “By taking some basic, easy steps,” Lloyd emphasizes, “we have a better chance of keeping small fires small, and minimizing the risk of property damage, serious injury or loss of life. “
The good news is that business is brisk, which means that worksites around the Willamette Valley have kept up with their annual inspections and improvements to their preparedness with things like proper mounts and cases. While there was not a succession plan in place for Oregon Fire Safety Solutions to take over for Don Fleck, the successful continuity of service shows how good relationship building between businesses as well as with their clients can help everyone weather changes, big or small.
“Part of me can’t help but think that the thing he’d probably be most worried about is who was going to take care of his customers,” says Lloyd. “We feel like it’s a pretty cool way to honor him, by being able to step up and fill those big shoes.
You can reach Oregon Fire Safety Solutions via their mailing address at PO Box 797 Mt. Angel, OR 97362, their Facebook page, or by email at [email protected]. If you would prefer to call or text, you can reach Eric Lloyd at 503-881-4951 or Stacie Lloyd at 971-370-0630 to chat about your needs and get to know the family behind the business.
By Allison Cloo