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Vans traces its roots back to the Van Dam family in Belgium. As legend has it, the Van Dams sold waffles made from a traditional family recipe at country fairs and eventually opened up a bakery in Brussels in the 19th century. By the 1920s, the family began producing and exporting its own brand of waffle irons. Then, in 1964, the Van Dam family really made their mark. They officially introduced the Belgian Waffle to America—with whipped cream and strawberries at the New York Worlds Fair.
By the 1970s, Van Dam family members opened a restaurant in Southern California that they simply called Vans. As time passed, they saw an opportunity to reach an even wider audience by offering their waffles in grocery stores. In 1988, the first Vans waffles began appearing in American supermarkets. By the 1990s, the family introduced wheat free waffles to accommodate people with gluten intolerance. Later, a complete line of organic waffles would follow. Since Vans inception, Vans has made products using traditional recipes and without any artificial flavors, colors or ingredients.