Absolute Access joins with Cuellar’s

Though a good match, the partnership speaks to need for continuity planning
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla.--Absolute Access and Cuellar’s Safe and Lock announced a partnership in August, whereby Absolute will service Cuellar’s account base, and the two companies will team to provide everything from traditional locksmith services to alarm, access control and surveillance systems to both client bases.

Christina Pinto, vice president of customer relations for Cuellar, and daughter of late founder Robert Cuellar, a Cuban ex-patriot, said the agreement allows the company to retain its well-established brand, dating to 1972, while vastly upgrading the offerings to its clients. Further, Cuellar’s has moved to a new location-“like going from Goodwill to Bloomingdale’s”-that now features much more than just locks and safes.

“The new shop is small, but you don’t need a huge location, and we have all of the top of the line security systems features,” Pinto said.

Part of the deal with Absolute, Pinto said, hinged around what was a less-than-ideal transition strategy when her father died eight years ago.

“It’s ironic, because that’s what I do for a living-business succession planning,” laughed Pinto, who’s a CFP with Moreno Peelen Ruggie Pinto and Clark, “but at the time I was too young to help my own family and they didn’t seek professional advice.”

After her brother decided to leave the company, Pinto was left with “400 clients and a 35-year-old business-and a full-time job as a financial advisor.” But, through acquaintances in the industry, Pinto found Absolute Access, and “they’re the business my dad always wanted to be.” She said she admired their computerization and efficiency, as well as their product line, and feels more than comfortable with Absolute’s team of professionals servicing the Cuellar’s client base.

The partnership came about in a “not so pleasant situation, but it was the best thing that could have happened to us,” Pinto said. Unfortunately, for small and family-owned businesses, “a lack of planning is very, very common,” she said, “because they’re so busy working, and don’t take the time.” She recommends that companies work with a firm like hers to ensure a good business continuity plan.