50 Years of Service: The History of Vader and Landgraf

58 Years of Service: The History of Vader and Landgraf


  • Company was founded by Harold Okinow, son of Sam Okinow, General Manager of a St. Paul dealer, Joesting and Schilling.
  • Okinow Sales started the legacy of sales in refrigeration, cooking, steam appliances, and stainless fabrication.
  • The original line list included Delfield, Duke, Franklin Products, Koch Refrigerators, Legion Kettles, and Shelley Manufacturing.


  • Gene Vader joined the company after a successful career with Koch Refrigeration, which allowed Okinow Sales to expand their reach to North & South Dakota and increase their knowledge and expertise in refrigeration.
  • Frymaster and Wolf Range joined the portfolio.


  • Toby Landgraf was hired from Toastmaster. Continuing the legacy of strong sales expertise, Toby brought in-depth knowledge of heat transfer and family history in the industry. His father was an owner of Minneapolis Restaurant Supply.


  • The company was incorporated as a result of the purchase of Okinow Sales.
  • The product line expands with the emphasis focusing on heavy equipment, engineered systems and strong customer service.
  • The industry underwent a transition from large institutional sales to strong growth in the restaurant and QSR segments.
  • This growth added to the agency expansion including personal and product lines including Dormont, Fisher and Salvajor.

1984 – 2003

  • During these years, the foodservice industry peaks in maturity. Industry consolidation begins at both the manufacturer and dealer levels.
  • Dealer buying groups reorganize. Vader and Landgraf starts formulating new marketing strategies to handle the changes in business.
  • Several corporate holding companies solicit Vader and Landgraf to represent their “package” of lines and it is determined that the company would continue with their existing brands while adding Advance Tabco, Cres Cor, Cleveland and Merco Savory to the portfolio.

2003 – 2012

  • The company ownership transfers to Dennis McGuire and Paul Slack.
  • Industry consolidation continues with Vader and Landgraf representing the Welbilt brand of lines adding Garland to the line list. ~ Welbilt changes the corporate name to Enodis (Latin for “Solutions”) and the firm adds Jackson, Lincoln, and MerryChef to the list.
  • Industry changes occur with manufacturer consolidation, dealerships opening “satellite” offices throughout the country; dealer roll ups creating new mega dealers and buying group purchasing influencing the marketing and sales strategies for all with-in the “sales channel”.
  • The Enodis Company is purchased by Manitowoc. Vader & Landgraf adds Kolpak to their current portfolio.
  • Industry sales boom with strong growth from all segments; VL participates by adding an inside sales team consisting of project coordinators and product specialists. World class customer service and brand growth continue to be the core mission of this firm as we strive to gain share for our manufacturers during the next 50 years.

2013 – Present

  • Vader and Landgraf continues to grow our brands, adding Vitamix Commercial to our portfolio.
  • The company invests in human capital with the addition of customer relationship management professionals including Mike DeRosia and Sean Ketcham