Arkansas security company goes to jail
MAGNOLIA, Ark.--B.J. Bailey is going straight to the old county jail to set up new offices for his alarm company, Bailey's Electronic and Security Company.
"It's a little rough around the edges now, but I couldn't think of a better place to have an alarm company," Bailey said.
Bailey expects to close on the Old Columbia County Jail, located here in the middle of this 11,000-person town, by the end of the summer. Bailey bought the circa-1929 jail for $25,000.
Bailey, who grew up in Magnolia, started in the alarm industry in 1998. In 2004, he opened his own company. He offers burglar and fire alarms, CCTV, home audio and other related services to commercial and residential customers throughout southern and central Arkansas. Bailey needed more room for his growing company and the old county jail had been "just sitting around empty" since 2000 when the county built a new jail.
He said the two-story brick building needs "a good little bit of work." Bailey plans to remove the bars on the first floor windows and replace them with new windows, but he wants to keep the look of the place nostalgic, he said.
He hasn't decided what he'll do on the second floor, which is home to quite a few jail cells.
Word of the sale spread quickly. Bailey was out of town when a town committee considered and approved the sale, "A reporter called after the meeting and said, 'I heard you bought the jail,' and I said, 'You know more than I do.'"
Since the purchase, Bailey's been featured in local and regional newspapers, as well as on television and radio news.
"I never expected anything like this," he said.
"They say any publicity is good publicity. I didn't used to believe that, but I do now," Bailey said.