Know Your Distributor: Lockmasters, Inc.

As one of the oldest distributors in the industry, the Lockmasters name should be familiar to just about everyone. But, what a lot of people don’t realize is that there have been a lot of changes at Lockmasters over the last decade. When...


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As one of the oldest distributors in the industry, the Lockmasters name should be familiar to just about everyone. But, what a lot of people don’t realize is that there have been a lot of changes at Lockmasters over the last decade.

When I was a Civil Service locksmith working for the Navy in the mid 1980s, I bought a lot of safe and vault locks and parts from Lockmasters. The Lockmasters catalog was a wealth of safe, vault, and safe deposit lock information. Even the Lockmasters logo had a safe dial incorporated into it. At that time, I and probably most locksmiths, considered Lockmasters to be a prime source for safe and vault-related parts and tools, but nothing else.

Today, Lockmasters, Inc. carries not only safe and vault products, but also automotive products, software, key machines, key blanks, replacement locks and specialty tools to handle almost any job that a locksmith needs to do. The changes have happened gradually over the past decade, but the Lockmasters of today is profoundly different from the Lockmasters of just a few years ago.

Q&A: Interview with Mark Miller
The president of Lockmasters, Inc. is Mark C. Miller whom I’ve known for about 20 years. Recently I had the opportunity to ask Mark some questions about his company and his opinion about the future of Lockmasters. Following are my questions and Miller’s answers.

When was Lockmasters founded and by whom?
The original company was founded by my grandfather, Harry C Miller in 1955, as a school for training safe and vault technicians in the art of manipulation.

Is there anything in the early history of the company that you think locksmiths in general either don’t know, or that you would like for them to know?
In 1981, my dad purchased the company from my grandfather. At that time it was a school exclusively for safe and vault technicians. While teaching classes, my father continually heard the students ask, “Where can I find a scope?” or “Where can I get a part for this combination lock?” Questions like that sparked the idea of expanding Lockmasters into a distribution business. We would say, “If you need it, call Lockmasters; if we don’t have it, we’ll find one for you.” As students began to call, they would ask for one of something; we would buy two.

The second leap in distribution came from listening to our students and customers. They would say “yeah that’s OK, but what I really need is something to do this” and that’s where many of our tool ideas began. Today we work with many locksmiths who have their own ideas and help them to bring their tools to market, people like Randy Mize, Tom Gallian, Allan Halverson, Barney Fergeson, Steven Mathina, Tom Lynch, Mike Madden, Skip Eckert, Mike Yarberry, Allen Murphy, James Hillard, Shane Varney and many more. This is one of the best parts of my job, helping talented technicians to see their ideas come to fruition and become products in our catalog. Helping these talented people make more money not only helps them, but it helps Lockmasters, Inc. and locksmiths in general.

What services does Lockmasters offer in addition to its products and classes?
That would be the top notch technical support offered by our experienced and highly trained staff on quality products from all the great manufacturers. Our staff has the capability to assist our customers with purchasing decisions and to also answer technical questions from the field on every product that we sell. If a locksmith needs to know something about a product that our staff doesn’t know, we’ll find the answer for them.

Why did Lockmasters decide to branch out into the automotive and commercial and residential locksmith businesses as well safes and vaults?
Our target customer was the safe and vault technician for years. As we grew, we realized the size limits of this market. When we went to the locksmith shows, our products were only appealing to those who did safe and vault work. It’s obvious that we love tools and gadgets, so why not carry the best tools for all locksmiths? This allowed us to offer something to everyone in our industry. The result was that when locksmiths walked past our booth, they quickly saw that we had lots of things they needed.

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