‘Mr. Lock’ has the key you need

Helping businesses and residences to lock up their assets

Ask the Job Doc.
Ask the Job Doc. –Boston.com

This locksmith’s license plate says it all: “MR. LOCK.” His mother’s plate says, “KEYS,” and his brother is “MR. KEY.” They are the proprietors of Boston Lock and Safe Company Inc., the oldest locksmith business in the country, which serviced even magicians, jails, inventors and more back in the day. Today, David Stoia, president, still has family memorabilia from escape artist Houdini, but the fourth generation owner is more likely to be securing ATMS or a gun collection than unshackling handcuffs. With a crew of 14 technicians and 12 service vehicles, he estimates Boston Lock and Safe has installed over a million locks and answers 12 to 14 thousand service calls a year. Stoia spoke to the Globe about keeping homes and businesses secure:

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“My dad was an escape artist himself and was intrigued with picking locks and defeating them. He put handcuffs on us when we were kids and we’d have to get out of them. He also had an expansive lock collection, and that’s still on display in our showroom. So this isn’t just a lock company; it’s part of our family history. I inherited my dad’s ‘LOCK’ license plate too. I took over when I was 28 years old, and the trade has gone from simple key cutting and hardware installations to sophisticated security systems. We’re a federally registered business, so we help protect confidential classified information in secure rooms. Fast food franchises and retail and convenient stores call us all the time: ’We fired someone and want to change our locks today.” Or, ‘the manager locked his keys in the office.’ And, ‘Someone broke the handle off our restroom door and we need to repair it.’ Locksmithing is tied to the economy and how safe people feel. When there’s uncertainty in the banks, more homeowners purchase safes to store valuables and cash. Locksmithing is a very diverse speciality that includes cracking open safes when someone loses a combination; or an estate owner may die and the attorney authorizes us to open the safe. Fiber optic devices can analyze the lock and helps open the safe. We’ve also worked with police departments during raids when they need to open a vault to collect evidence. Technicians love the challenge of opening a safe; there’s a great sense of accomplishment when the handle turns. Our integrity is primary; locksmiths do not have to be licensed in the state of Massachusetts so it’s buyer beware. Unfortunately there are crooks in the security industry. I have access to a lot of keys, locks and codes so it’s all about honesty and credibility. As a small example, don’t ask us to make duplicates when your landlord hands you a key that says, ‘Do not duplicate.’ But if you are legitimately looking for a key, we have one of the largest key displays in the country in our shop – it’s about 60 feet long with two or three thousand keys. No matter how rare, chances are we have it.”

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