News, May 2021

May 3, 2021

Banner Solutions Acquires H.L. Flake

The security distribution network is undergoing another round of mergers, and the biggest one yet will combine Banner Solutions and H.L. Flake. Terms of the sale weren’t announced.

Banner’s acquisition of Flake includes H.E. Mitchell and McDonald Dash but not International Key Supply, which will become an independent company. According to a letter sent to customers in April, no significant change will occur right away.

However, Travis Howell, marketing manager at Flake, says the Flake name, as well as those of Mitchell and McDonald Dash, will cease by the end of the year, leaving behind only Banner Solutions. In addition, the Security Pro Supply name under which the four distributors had marketed their training and services has ceased and won’t carry over.

Although the Flake name, which has been in use for 109 years since its origin as a bicycle retailer, will go away, Howell says the mood at the company is good.

“There’s a lot of optimism and excitement,” he says. “What’s exciting is that we’ll be part of their distribution network, so we’ll be able to get our products closer to our customers.” He adds that the merger is good from a product assortment basis as well. “Banner has a lot of specialty solutions that we haven’t stocked, so that makes for a broader product offering for our customers.”

In a press release, Brendan Deely, president and CEO of Banner Solutions, says, “H.L. Flake is a company we’ve long admired for their commitment to serving the locksmith customer. This represents a tremendous opportunity for Banner Solutions to add a wealth of expertise and history in that critical channel.”

Flake has been active in training and educating locksmiths and security pros, and although nothing has been determined at this point, Howell says he wouldn’t be surprised that this initiative will continue.

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DHI Releases School Safety & Security Policy Principles

The Door and Hardware Institute (DHI) released its School Safety & Security Policy Principles. The policy principles, the first of its kind for DHI, are built on proven methods that provide safety and security in an education setting and use best practices for door and hardware solutions.

The policy principles were developed by DHI members and experts who have decades of experience, technical expertise and certifications. They focus on why schools must install code-compliant and tested safety and security hardware only.

To support legislators, schools and communities in having conversations on school security, the policy principles reinforce DHI’s stance on security and locking hardware, doors and glass in or near doors. They also include key information to help schools to make informed decisions. The document outlines which community members and government representatives should be involved to prioritize safety and security at the federal, state and local levels.

“DHI is passionately concerned about school safety to protect every student in every situation, every day,” states David M. Sylvester, PSP, president of the DHI Board of Governors. “On any given day, there are real active safety concerns in our nation’s schools — from student violence to fire hazards and outside influences. DHI and our members support safety and security methods that protect all students and invest in their future, while also protecting school teachers, administrators and staff.”

DHI distributed its policy principles to nearly 5,000 state officials across the country to encourage the adoption of proper school safety and security protocols.

Visit: to read the School Safety & Security Policy Principles.

Midwest Keyless Acquired by Automotive Keys Group

Automotive Keys Group LLC, a portfolio company of investment firm Kinderhook Industries LLC, announced the acquisition, in partnership with management, of Midwest Keyless Inc. Based in Spring Grove, Illinois, Midwest Keyless is a remanufacturer and distributor of replacement OEM and aftermarket keyless entry remotes and keys as well as key-cutting and programming equipment.

Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed, and AKG says the Midwest Keyless brand will continue to operate independently with the same sales team.

Midwest Keyless serves more than 3,000 locksmiths and automotive professionals throughout the United States and Canada and provides leading technical support and ongoing education through its on-staff experts and training seminars on programming and key-cutting equipment. The acquisition of Midwest Keyless magnifies AKG’s presence in the wholesale and locksmith sales channels and adds a highly experienced and committed team to the organization. Midwest Keyless’s differentiated procurement model and exemplary customer-service processes will be leveraged across the broader AKG platform.

Ayal Sharvit, CEO at AKG, states, “The Midwest Keyless team is an invaluable addition to AKG, and together we will enhance the growth potential of our combined businesses. The integration of Midwest Keyless will allow us to better serve our customers and expand our relationships with locksmiths and other professionals nationwide and in Canada.”

“Midwest Keyless has been a standard-setting automotive replacement keys company for over 15 years and is known for its knowledgeable staff who have a wealth of expertise on the ever-changing technology of the locksmith industry,” says Paul Cifelli, managing director at Kinderhook. “Our growing AKG platform is following the path of many previous Kinderhook successes in the automotive aftermarket.”

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Safety Technology International President Margie D. Gobler retired, effective March 31, 2021, and former Vice President of Finance, Operations, and HR Matthew Daniels was appointed by the board of directors to fill the position.

Gobler, who succeeded her father, John (Jack) D. Taylor, the founder of STI, as President in 2002, will continue as member of the board, along with Lori Lynn Taylor and John F. Taylor.

“It has been an honor and privilege leading STI through a transformative journey,” Gobler says. “From starting in a home basement, to opening an office in England (1994), to expanding into multiple buildings in Waterford, Michigan, and opening an office in China, now, the company is recognized as a global leader in helping to prevent false fire alarms. The company’s future is extremely encouraging, and I look forward to a smooth transition and continual growth.”

SALTO Systems named Laura Turman retail vertical leader for North America.

“We are very excited to have Laura leading our retail vertical business,” says Steve Burk, SALTO Systems North America director of marketing & vertical businesses. “SALTO’s offerings in the retail space provide much more than world-class access control. They also drive operational efficiencies that customers can leverage to improve their businesses. With her strong security experience and deep insight, Laura is well-equipped to deliver SALTO’s best-in-class access control solutions deeper into the retail market.”

Turman has extensive experience in security and served as regional sales manager for Senstar, regional security expert for Schneider Electric, regional sales manager for Open Options and as an account executive for Anixter. She also served as vice president of operations for Ashland Integrated Inc. 

Turman can be reached at [email protected] or (470) 718-1143.