Gladwin Tank Mfg was founded in 1974 by Larry D. Grove. At that time Larry was employed by the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mi. During his time at Dow he was fascinated by all of the steel fabricated items around him. He had spent a short time working in the Dow fab shop. After 18 years of employment at Dow, he left to start up his own steel fabrication business. The business started out as T.C.K. Steel fabrication. Named after his three kids; Thane, Courtney and Kyle.
Larry rented out an empty building in the heart of Gladwin. That building was the old Gladwin Dairy, which is currently the site of the Ameritech building. Larry first started out making refuge dumpsters and worked his way up to building tanks. After a few years of cutting, grinding and banging in the residential area, he was asked to move to a location that was zoned for industrial work. In 1977 property was bought in Gladwin’s Industrial Park and by 1978 a new 80’ x 100’ building was put up. It was at that time the ASME code stamp for building pressure vessels was acquired.
Work came in at a steady pace until the recession of the early 80’s hit. Although bankruptcy was never filed, the building and equipment was repossessed by the bank. The bank then sold the building to another local business. It was at that time that Gladwin Tank Mfg was founded.
Under a new name and the economy looking stronger, the business once again grew and the process of buying the equipment back and making lease payments to the new owner of the building began. It was still a rough and bumpy road but Larry never gave up.
The late 80’s saw a very busy time for the business and by the early 90’s the small building needed an expansion. The building that is now owned by somebody else needed to be bought back in order to add on to it. Once that was all done the new addition of 120’ longer and 40’ wider was put on. The new building was 140’ wide x 200’ long. A year later an empty building next door to Gladwin Tank, formerly a machine shop that closed up was purchased. The building was remodeled and made into offices. The old 2 story office inside of the old building was demolished to make room for more fabricating space.
Over the years the business saw many ups and downs. Some years were good, some years Larry wondered why he ever left Dow. He was starting to see the guys he used to work with retiring from Dow and he wondered if he had made the right decision.
In early 2000 he made the decision to start cutting back his hours and start enjoying time with his friends and his old cars. By 2001 he was fully retired. Larry’s 2 kids (Thane and Kyle) that had been employed by the business for 15 and 12 years had begun to take over the business. His daughter Courtney came to work during his time of retirement and she is now part of running the business also.
Larry passed away in September of 2003, but his dream still lives on.