Harvey's taps Brink's to expand

Saturday, July 1, 2006

RAPID CITY, S.D.--Jim Crossman's family business, Harvey's Lock and Security Center, has been a household name in this city of 60,000 for 50 years. As the business kicks off its second half-century, Crossman wants to become even more of a household name by expanding his residential security business.
To that end, Crossman became a Brink's authorized dealer in March.
Founded by his grandfather, Harvey Christensen, in 1956 as Harvey's Fix-It Shop, the business has evolved from bicycle repairs to locksmithing to, most recently, access control and video surveillance. If you find a key ring on the streets of Rapid City, chances are it will be stamped with Harvey's name, Crossman said. And, "if you ask people who to see for security, they mention our name," he said.
Still, Crossman currently has a small residential client base, making up about 20 percent of his business. Much of his security integration has actually been done for commercial customers across the country. He turned to Brink's because he was "looking for a different priceline for the customer. We wanted something to offer besides hardwired systems sold outright, [which go for a] minimum of $1,600 to $2,400," With Brink's, he can offer residential systems for considerably less up-front cost.
Brink's also provides "excellent marketing material," and "people find a piece of mind with a national franchise name," he said.
The bikes are long gone, but the business still does traditional locksmithing as well as electronic access control, cameras and fire. Last month, for example, projects included access control installations for the South Dakota Department of Transportation and the Rapid City Fire Department, a fire alarm system and telephone entry system for multi-family housing, and video surveillance installations for a county detoxification center and five retail establishments.
Harvey's has 14 employees: locksmiths, electronic security specialists, designers, sales and he's hiring two more employees to focus on the residential market.
Crossman said it was the locksmithing business that drove him into alarms and surveillance and that took his business from a South Dakota base to a company that does commercial work from New Jersey to San Francisco.
In the late 1980s, his business started installing electronic card lock systems. He was hired to install a cardswipe lock for a chain of hotels from New Jersey to San Francisco. In turn, this and then other clients started asking him to install video surveillance and alarm systems.
Crossman says he has hundreds of customers, including banks, manufacturers and grocery chains across the country, but mainly focused in the "upper Midwest from Salt Lake City to Wisconsin to Kansas City on the south side."