THINGS have changed in the world of locksmithing since Geoff Gronbek began working out out of his Samson home in 1981.
“People think we just cut keys and open doors,” he says.
Electronics have revolutionised the industry and the family-owned business now supplies and installs CCTV and intercoms on domestic and commercial premises.
Alarm systems are a large part of the business, says son Michael.
“We went from locks to home security.”
The company also sells and installs safes, and can make duplicate keys for car remotes at almost half the price of the dealerships, daughter Tina Bennett says.
Mr Gronbek learned the basics of locksmithing while growing up in Copenhagen, then picked up the rest after immigrating to Australia in 1979.
After operating out of his Samson house for two years, business was booming, so he opened a shop in Fremantle’s CBD, then eventually moved to his current location at the corner of Hampton Road and Wray Avenue in 1986.
Gronbek Security has also got premises in Welshpool, and employs 18 staff, and up to four apprentices a year.
“We have trained a lot of our opposition,” Mr Gronbek says with a smile.
“I’m proud we have done a good job for society.”
The business is also proud to belong to the industry’s peak body the Master Locksmith Association of Australia.
“A lot of locksmiths may be police licenced, but the difference is they aren’t part of the MLAA, which is a professional body,” Mrs Bennett says. “That’s something we are proud of.”
“It has professional standards for locksmiths and a code of ethics,” her brother adds.
There’s masses of rules and regulations the industry has to follow, but sometimes potential clients try to flout them, including requesting bolts on exit doors.
“If people put big bolts on doors, people cant’ get out,” Mrs Bennett says. “We go by the book.”
“Have we lost money because we wouldn’t do something? Yes. But we sleep at night.”
By JENNY D’ANGER
89 Hampton Road, Fremantle