Open for Business: Customer service key to Craig Locksmith’s success
CRAIG — Throughout history, men have held the keys to cities.
Part of that legacy is Roy McAnally, owner of The Locksmith of Craig — the longest-serving of Craig’s two locksmith businesses.
“Craig is the metropolis of Moffat County and the county seat. It is a beautiful little city with a population of 1,000!” wrote a “recent settler” in a column in the Moffat County Courier Dec. 14, 1916.
At that time, Craig “boasted” a “beautiful brick (train) depot and as commodious a school building as would grace a much larger city … water works, a good sewage system, two national banks … two livery barns and three locksmith shops.”
The settler added, “A word to those who care to and contemplate filing on land in Moffat County, Colorado: Don’t wait too long, as the homesteaders are coming very rapidly.”
McAnally isn’t sure if his business dates back to one of those original three locksmith shops.
As far as he can recall, back in 1974, the business, under another name, was located on Yampa Avenue and owned by Forrest Conrow.
In 2010, McAnally purchased the business from Wesley “Rocky” Innes, who originally, along with Skip Duncan, purchased the business called Five Star Locksmith from Tony Montoya, who purchased it from Conrow.
“When we bought it, the economy had tanked two years earlier, and real estate wasn’t cutting it,” said McAnally, who owned American Northwest Realty before its sale. “Everything was tanking, so we bought it to bring in a second income and were able to stay in both businesses.”
His retail business offers keys, locks, and safes. Services include re-keys and lockouts, and while he has cracked a few old locked items, McAnally sends more difficult safes out to a special consultant.
“I learned everything I learned in two weeks from Rocky. I learned just about everything I know doing it on my own,” McAnally said.
In eight years, he’s come to particularly enjoy building locks that use more than one key “… those are challenging; you need math. The pinning process is a mathematical process.”
Often, his greatest challenge is sourcing parts.
“That’s not unique to this business. We are at least 150 miles from many suppliers, and sometimes, clients have to wait, and that’s frustrating,” McAnally said.
When he bought the business in 2010, his was the only locksmith shop that served the northwestern corner of the state.
“Aside from Steamboat, there wasn’t another locksmith in the northwest corner,” McAnally said. “You’d have to go clear to Rifle. There are three in Steamboat, but they won’t come down here.”
His call-outs have ranged as far as Laramie, Wyoming, and the wide service area — coupled with his attention to customer service — has been key to the business’s success.
“When someone gives me a call, I try to be there within 24 hours, and if I can be there the same day, then I am,” McAnally said. “There is a great deal of satisfaction in this business, because when people come to you they have a problem, and you get to fix that issue. There’s a great deal of satisfaction in that.”
Sometimes, the problem has less to do with the locks and more to do with people, such as the story of a local property flipper who called for a re-key, telling McAnally he’d have to break in.
“When I opened it, it didn’t look right. There was food in cat dishes; the plants were green,” he said.
After calling to reconfirm the location with his client, he re-keyed the property. A few hours later, he received a call from a woman asking if he’d let her into her house where her keys suddenly didn’t work.
The developer had mixed up two yellow houses, both on the corner of the same street.
Or, there was the time a woman asked him to re-key her home, providing proof in the form of a driver’s license that the residence was hers. A few hours later, McAnally received a call from a man.
“He said she hasn’t lived in this house for a year. Even when they show that they live there, it’s not a guarantee. That’s a little bit of a worry, especially on cars,” he said. “Most troublesome, I used to get a lot of callouts at 2:30 a.m. On several occasions, the driver was inebriated.”
McAnally said in those cases, he’d request they get a designated driver, but often, that suggestion was met with anger, forcing McAnally to stand his ground.
The Locksmith of Craig is again up for sale, as McAnally is looking to retire. He believes there will continue to be a demand for someone willing to travel to assist people when they lock themselves out or need a property re-keyed.
“Security is getting to be more and more a part of the business, with the electronics end starting to become bigger. Styles of locks are changing,” McAnally said. “It’s a long, slow process in transitioning to new designs. It’s continuing to progress and change.”
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.