In 1994 two brothers, Jim, and Greg Witmer, created Gearmasters, Inc., a turnout gear storage system to air dry wet gear. Jim’s business experience and decades of service as a firefighter combined with Greg’s sharpness of marketing drove their product to the internet in its early days. As a fire chief, Jim created HelmetPartSource.com after he experienced firefighters stripping helmets for parts and himself being unable to find parts to order. With Cairns and Brother onboard, they quickly got their website running and placed advertisements in Firehouse Magazine.
Over the years and as the business grew, HelmetPartsSource.com changed to TheFireStore.com offering customers a greater variety of products. The brothers purchased a 5,000 square-foot building for retail and warehouse space for their growing line of products.
In 2002 Greg passed away after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Jim relied on his wife and children to help carry the company the brothers created. James, Jim’s oldest son, and his wife joined the family business full-time with James taking on Greg’s role of marketing. The company continued to grow its product line, locations, and staff eventually moving from that 5,000 sq ft building into the 85,000 sq ft complex it currently resides in.
Having been a firefighter for many years, and currently Chief Emeritus, Jim Witmer guided the company through his passion for firefighting, community, and making the world a better place. A significant percentage of the staff will always be active or retired firefighters, as well as law enforcement agency members, EMTs, and paramedics, working under the motto “Equipping Protectors with Passion™”
In January of 2012 James announced that his father, Jim, had been diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Jim did not immediately give up his roles, though James was named Vice President and assumed many duties and eventually transitioned to CEO in February of 2016. As a result of Jim’s diagnosis, the company began supporting the Alzheimer’s Association in several ways including the “Casual for a Cause” program where a $2 donation per day allows employees to wear jeans to work. Thousands of dollars per year are donated.
Fast forward to today and the Witmer Public Safety Group has become a nationally recognized dealer providing fast access to an extensive range of specialized public safety equipment from some of the biggest names in the industry to many small manufacturers of excellent, innovative products.
Witmer Public Safety Group’s online retail stores empower customers to easily access the gear they need when they need it. Offline, Witmer has a full-fledged outside sales team serving first responders from Maine to Virginia. The showrooms are staffed with experienced public safety professionals who provide first responders with the opportunity to test, try on, and take-home specialized products. Witmer also has a fleet of service vehicles, and in-house embroidery, alterations, and engraving services.
The Witmer Public Safety Group is focused on six brands:
In March 2022, the company launched a new website with features and benefits for customers. A shared cart functionality will allow purchases across all brands to be completed in a single checkout process with a single shipping fee. Known for ecommerce, Witmer Public Safety Group’s new site offers a shopping mall type of experience for its customers and will soon include bringing back its loyalty point program with the launch of the new website.
Along with being a supplier to first responders Witmer Public Safety Group is also involved in charitable causes as a supporter of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Shop with a Cop Coatesville, Alzheimer’s Association, and Young Life among others.
Witmer Public Safety Group Online: