Richmond Alarm expands into eastern Virginia

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

RICHMOND, Va.—Richmond Alarm grew its footprint into eastern Virginia with the recent acquisition of Multra-Guard, a Norfolk-based, family-owned, full-service security company.

The acquisition by Richmond Alarm, a Honeywell First Alert dealer based here, makes that company the largest locally owned provider of electronic security systems in the state, according to company president Wayne Boggs.

Multra-Guard is a good fit geographically for Richmond Alarm, he told Security Systems News.

“We have an office in Lynchburg, about two hours west of Richmond and Norfolk is two hours east of Richmond, so it now pretty much lets us cover the middle part of the state of Virginia from one side to the other and have service offices in both locations,” he said.

Also, he said, Multra-Guard, which has about 3,000 accounts and a UL-listed central station, was a “nice fit” for Richmond Alarm, a family company of about 75 employees founded in 1947 by Boggs’ father.

“We knew the employees. We’ve known the company for years,” Boggs said. “They’re very similar [to Richmond Alarm] in their fanatical attitude towards customer service … We thought it would be a good addition.”

Multra-Guard, whose owners sold the business so they could retire, will continue to operate under its own name, Boggs said. “We’re going to operate it as a completed independent business because it’s been there so long and it has such a reputation and the name is recognizable down there,” he said.

Boggs said the company specialized in working for schools and government facilities, which is something Richmond Alarm also is skilled in.

But while about half of Richmond Alarm’s work is residential, the residential component of Multra-Guard has only been 15 percent to 20 percent of that business. Boggs said he wants to change that.

“We feel like there’s an opportunity there for us to build on the commercial base [of Multra-Guard] to build a little bit more residential business than they’ve had in the past,” he said.

The approximately one dozen employees at Multra-Guard will stay on, he said. And because the company didn’t have a sales staff, a sales representative will be hired, Boggs said.

Multra-Guard also didn’t have a web site or market itself, and Boggs said that also will change. “We feel there is a great opportunity really, if we just go down there and light them up a little bit, and people see them a little bit more and we make them more visible.”

In 2009, Richmond Alarm, which owns and operates the Lynchburg Alarm Company, acquired the Neighborhood Security Network and Virginia Key & Lock. Boggs said Multra-Guard is the latest edition to what Richmond Alarm calls its “family of companies.”

As for future acquisition plans, Boggs said: “I will probably do an acquisition in the southern part of the state later this year.”

But he said Richmond Alarm doesn’t plan to expand too far from its roots in the densely-populated central portion of the state. “We have no goals to be outside Virginia,” he said.“ I have no goals to grow much beyond the footprint that we’re in now.”