Comtronics chugs along, embarks on an aggressive growth plan

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Wednesday, January 1, 2003

JACKSON, Mich. -An alarm company bought by a beer distributor more than three years ago is today boasting more than 20 locations and plans to build a four-story addition at its headquarters in the next few years.

For Comtronics, the growth comes from the financial backing of parent company Walker Capital Corp. and the vision to open alarm stores throughout Michigan.

The latest location, added in Adrian, Mich. in November, marked store number 21 for the alarm company that also sells cellular telephones and uses that business to grow in the security market.

“People come up and buy a phone and the next thing we’re doing is giving them a cut sheet on all our other products,” said John Campau, president and chief executive officer of Comtronics.

Three more stores are planned for Comtronics in the Central Michigan area in the first six months of this year, all part of an aggressive growth plan that includes the possible acquisition of a southeastern Michigan alarm company in the near future. Comtronics has already expanded its central station, a $500,000 project that featured software upgrades and the addition of monitoring workstations.

“We’ve got a natural business plan to expand to about 40 locations and that gives us the opportunity to expand our security division,” said Philip F. Campau, Sr., chairman of Comtronics and company founder. “The security market really is where our core business is today.”

Though security accounts for 65 percent of its business today, Comtronics got its start in 1958 as a communications company. It first provided land / mobile communication equipment used by the police and fire department, said Philip F. Campau Sr.

“Security works because it all falls within the same grouping, communications and electronics,” he said. “It all gels together.”

Comtronics is now taking its security expertise to the financial security market. Already the company is providing security services for 600 banks, installing the likes of CCTV and access control systems.

And thanks to its growing business, Comtronics will embark on a $3 to $4 million expansion of its headquarters in two to four years, a project expected to add 50 employees to the company’s current 135-person workforce. The addition will feature a 3,000 square foot showroom for both the security and cellular telephone business.