American Alarm buys up its neighbor

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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

ARLINGTON, Mass. - American Alarm & Communications has bought a neighboring alarm company in a deal that not only brings onboard new customers, but also adds several employees to its payroll.

The acquisition of Crystal Alarm, a small company in Winchester, Mass. that began operations in 1979, provides American Alarm with greater density in that market.

It also gives the company three new employees, including Michael Surabian, the former owner of Crystal Alarm. Surabian joined American Alarm full-time in October as a technical advisor, handling customer service and designing security systems.

“We like the model of keeping the owner on,” said Wells Sampson, vice president of sales and marketing and owner of American Alarm. “They can specialize more and they can do the things they enjoy and let others do the things they don’t like,” such as human resources and paying bills.

Sampson declined to release the purchase price or how many new customers were brought onboard thanks to the Crystal Alarm transaction.

But Robert Bushinsky, sales and marketing associate at American Alarm, characterized Crystal Alarm’s customers as high-end and included judges, politicians and television news reporters. Most of the accounts from Crystal Alarm were residential or commercial customers.

That customer mix is in line with the current make up of  American Alarm, a full-service alarm company that serves 16,000  customers,  of which 12,000 are monitored. Even though 70 percent of new sales and installations come from the commercial security market, its customer base is mainly residential, accounting for 55 percent of all customers.

According to Bushinksky, Crystal Alarm has merged its office with American Alarm’s location in Arlington, Mass.