Richmond Alarm out of home theater

Richmond sheds home theater biz to concentrate on its core mission
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

RICHMOND, Va.—Richmond Alarm this month sold a home theater/home audio business that it purchased two years ago to a local home technology integrator.

The sale to Livewire of NSN Technologies took place July 18, said Wayne Boggs, president of Richmond Alarm, a Honeywell First Alert dealer based here.

NSN did not perform as expected after the bottom fell out of the new housing construction market in the recession, so the offer by Livewire to purchase the business benefited both companies, Boggs told Security Systems News.

“It is good for us because we don’t have to deal with it anymore,” Boggs said. “We can concentrate on our primary business, which is security.”

Richmond Alarm, founded 64 years ago, recently announced it  had expanded to become the largest locally owned provider of electronic security systems in the state with the acquisition of Multra-Guard, a full service security company in Norfolk.

Boggs declined to reveal terms of the deal with Livewire, but said that Richmond Alarm will continue to retain rights to the NSN name and that Livewire is essentially buying all its home theater leads.

“I’m not going to do home theater anymore,” Boggs explained. “I’m going to direct anyone who calls me and wants home theater to him [Livewire owner Henry Clifford].”

He said Richmond Alarm is keeping the NSN name and phone number because thousands of NSN customers have structured wiring boxes with that contact information on them and may call if they need additional work or security offerings that Richmond Alarm can provide.

“I’m going to keep that name and phone number operational just because there’s an installed base out there that I can leverage over time,” Boggs explained.

Richmond Alarm acquired NSN—Neighborhood Security Network, a company with a 20-year history—in 2009.

The plan at the time was to market Richmond Alarm’s security services to NSN’s customers and use NSN’s connections with homebuilders to open up other opportunities for Richmond Alarm. But fewer and fewer new homes are being built.

“We expected, as did many others, that the new construction market would languish for a couple of years and then recover, and it is now clear that is not going to happen and, in fact, the new construction housing market is probably not going to recover for at least five more years, if then,” Boggs said. “So, it just didn’t make any sense to us to continue a piece of the business that’s not going to generate any substantial revenue for us as an adjunct.”

He said NSN generated less than $100,000 a year in business. It had two employees and Richmond Alarm let one go and will employ the other in another part of its business, Boggs said.

The same year it acquired NSN, Richmond Alarm also purchased Virginia Key & Lock, a locksmith business.

“That business has grown and continues to grow,” Boggs said. “It’s been a really good adjunct to our business because it’s so closely tied to what we do.”