The adventure began in Meudon Bellevue in October 1989 in the family garage of Franck Douville, the founder of Welkit, with the publication of the first catalog specializing in the mail order sale of military equipment. Originally the company was called U.S.M.C. for Uncle Sam's Military Catalog, but also because of the famous USMC elite unit, the United States Marine Corps, in which its leader sees a goal to be achieved: to provide the armed forces with the best military equipment, as quickly as possible. possible, anywhere in the world.
After quickly gaining recognition, the company opened its first store in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. On this date U.S.M.C. rather akin to military surplus, which does not suit the original vision of its founder, who subsequently takes a major decision for the future of the company.
The first USMC catalog © Archives Welkit
In 1996, the day after the announcement of the President of the Republic Jacques Chirac on the great reform of Defense, concerning the transition to the professional army and the abandonment of compulsory military service, Franck Douville decided to refocus exclusively on the marketing of new, high-quality equipment for members of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies.
The same year, after having been a partner for a time with a German company to develop USMC Outre-Rhin, Franck Douville put an end to this cooperation following divergences in strategies, the German company wanting to diversify and offer civilian equipment. USMC then specialized exclusively in the sale of professional articles of the latest generation.
Two years later the company becomes USMC PRO and launches its first website usmc-pro.com. For the first time in France, Defense and Security professionals can order their individual equipment on the internet and receive their orders quickly.
Following the turning point in 1996 and the rise of the online sales site, everything accelerated and a first store of nearly 300 m² was opened in Montrouge. This new type of specialist store was so successful with law enforcement and military personnel that a few years later two other USMC PRO stores opened in Toulouse and then in Saint Cyr Coëtquidan.
Administrative sales are also progressing so that the company decides to put together a new full-time team and creates a new professional catalog. The Moudonnaise SME now responds to administrative requests, regardless of the volume of the request, both for operational purchases and for emergency operational purchases, Adapted Procedure Contracts or National Calls for Tenders. For example, it has been chosen to supply many endowment products in different administrations, such as equipment and combat gear for Special Forces and Invention Groups, Titan hydration packs for troops in Afghanistan, etc. More recently the company won the contract for the renewal of the discreet holster of the Police, the Gendarmerie and the Customs services.
|Franck Douville receiving the Blackhawk award for best international distributor. © Photo Welkit|
In 2014 to cope with this growth, the company moved its logistics center in Brittany to premises three times the size and automated, thus increasing its stock and increasing the speed of order processing. Today 70% of customer orders are shipped the same day and 97% within 24 hours.
In 2015 the company changed its name to put an end to the confusion of certain customers with the US Marine Corps. USMC PRO then becomes Welkit.
Why Welkit? What does it mean ?
Welkit is the contraction of two English words: Well (very good / very good) + Kit (military equipment). The green reticle of USMC PRO is also replaced by a yellow "check mark" in the "W", symbolizing a unique know-how: to provide Professional Solutions® adapted to the requirements of missions. As for the point of the "i", it is an arrow which recalls the good reactivity of the Welkit teams and the speed of their services.
The name Welkit was chosen especially because it perfectly reflects the ultimate goal of the company: to offer you Professional Solutions®, quickly, wherever you are and whatever your mission.
And now ?
Today Welkit continues its development by perfecting its know-how. Always focused on the sale of equipment for defense and security professionals, the company positions itself as a specialist and emphasizes customer service and the offer. We therefore plan to expand our ranges while continuing to negotiate as best we can with our suppliers in order to obtain the best prices on the market.