American Alarm stakes new central station site

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Wednesday, September 1, 2004

ARLINGTON, Mass. - Fueled by 19 percent growth in accounts and revenue last year and accommodating for up to 15 percent year-after-year growth, American Alarm and Communications has acquired space for a new central station that will offer the security firm an additional 12,000 square feet from its current site.

The relocation comes at a busy time for the company, as it completed its second acquisition in a year in June and worked in conjunction with the U.S. Government on security measures for the Democratic National Convention at the Fleet Center in Boston.

“The main drivers are to accommodate our growth and business pace - to expand central station and customer service,” said Wells Sampson, vice president at the company. Given the projected growth rate, the company could double in size within five years, Sampson said. Thus, the new facility “gives us a larger-term growth path.”

The new central station, at 32,000 square feet, is located a few blocks away from its current site in Arlington, and it will be UL approved at the time it opens in November. The Dice upgrade enables it to offer new services to its customers and help ramp existing services including video monitoring.

“Remote video monitoring seems to be picking up and that’s exciting,” said Sampson. “It will be easier for us to do verification.”

American Alarm is concentrated on the central New England area, where 98 percent of its business is conducted. It monitors 11,000 accounts and has a total of 17,000 accounts in its system, according to Sampson.

This June, American Alarm acquired Crystal Alarm, a Winchester, Mass.-based security and fire installation company that primarily handled residential accounts. Former owner Michael Sarbinger has joined American Alarm as a result of the deal and now serves in a sales function for the company.

The company acquired Worcester-based Alphatronics Security in July 2003, which brought in about 2,500 accounts. The former owner, Steve Oles, and his son, David, now handle sales and customer service for the company at the Worcester location.

The family-owned business never gives away equity when it completes acquisitions; thus the company either draws on cash in the bank or a pre-arrange credit line for the deals it makes. Sampsons’ father Richard started American Alarm in the 1970’s, and both he and his brother, Lou, work for the company.