How did you get started in the locksmith trade?
I was in real estate and I was doing a lot of maintenance on the side and locksmithing was one of the things I was doing. I managed a lot of apartments, so my real estate employers were my first customers. I ended up taking some [locksmithing] classes, next thing you know I’m placing ads in the phone book and just a few years later I bought out my first local business. I kept acquiring businesses and it has just grown.
What are people typically trying to protect?
Mostly gun safes. The safes I sell are 80% gun safes and 20% security safes. But people will store more than just guns in a gun safe – they’ll store jewelry, family heirlooms, and important documents.
Do your customers prefer one color over another?
We offer gun metal gray, black, burgundy, pearl. The speckled tan is popular. A lot of these go into people’s homes – into their master bedroom closets and most women don’t want something ugly in their closet. (so true Ken, I’m a woman, and I don’t even put ugly shoes in my master bedroom closet)
What are some evolutions in the safe industry you’ve witnessed over the past 5 – 10 years?
I think what really changed the game for a lot of people, those that couldn’t figure out how to dial open safes, was when the industry introduced electronic locks. Combination locks aren’t something we sell much anymore.
Is safe cracking really like you see in the movies?
Not really. You need professional tools and you need to find a weak spot in a safe. American Security doesn’t make a weak safe. You’d have to know precisely where to drill to avoid breaking the autolocking mechanism.
What makes you an advocate for American Security safes?
Clark Security didn’t have a branch here in Florida, but they wanted to be able to have a place where other locksmiths could come pick up products so they let me display them in my showroom. I had three brands on display but when customers came in and saw all three brands, they always chose the American Security safe. They’re easy to sell. People like the way they look. They like the carpeted shelves. They like the steel construction.
How did 2020 treat you?
We were flat year over year but I think that’s pretty good considering the pandemic. I think 2021 is going to be a crazy year as far as safe sales are concerned. Once people are able to emerge from this pandemic and businesses start reopening [orders will increase].
What is the most significant advantage for you in doing business with American Security?
A wide selection of product availability through distribution.
Have any funny or surprising stories to share with us?
Once there was this guy who bought a safe, but he didn’t want us to deliver it, so he shows up and thought he could just put a gun safe in his 2 door mustang. We got it in but it wasn’t easy!
Thank you Ken.
To inquire about the kind of safe right for your needs in the Tampa, FL area, call Affordable Lock & Security Solutions.