After acquiring some basic locksmith (and speedometer servicing) skills working for Ralph Williams Ford in the San Fernando Valley, self taught entrepreneur Steve Slepack and wife Cheryl opened “Steve’s Speedometer Lock and Key” in 1960 in a small 300 sq. ft. location at 407 N. Sepulveda Manhattan Beach, behind his home on Larsson Street. In 1972, neighbor Steve (who would see me working fairly often on my $50 1961 Rambler Classic Station Wagon and therefore must have some mechanical abilities) asked me if I would like to come to work and learn the trade. I switched college from day to night, and took the offer.
At first, service calls consisted of loading the tools in Steve’s classic 356C Porsche. After a while, we outgrew that means of transportation and Steve purchased a small Toyota pickup with a camper on the back. That was a great improvement. The tools and stock could stay in the camper, and on weekends I could borrow the truck for scuba diving trips up and down the coast.
In 1974, Steve and Cheryl decided they wanted to try something new, so I took another chance and took over the business. The business continued to grow as we settled into new opportunities selling safes, car alarms and other peripheral security products. Deadbolt installations were keeping us busy as the South Bay shifted from not locking the doors at all in the 50’s, to locking the door knobs in the 60’s, to locking a door knob and a deadbolt in the 70’s.
In 1978, having outgrown the original location, we purchased a vacant lot across from the proposed Manhattan Beach Village Mall and began construction on our new location.
Since relocating to the new location at 3401 N. Sepulveda Manhattan Beach in 1979, business has continued to expand with our ventures into home alarms, closed circuit television and access control products. It seems like we’re still bulging at the seams even with 3000 square feet. Our philosophy “treat your customer the same way you would want to be treated” continues to drive our business, and we feel is why most of our business is from repeat customers or referrals from prior customers.
In October 2009, my son Jarrett joined our team, developing and heading up our Internet advertising program and E-commerce goals. I’m hoping my time to try something new will arrive shortly (retire) and Jarrett will be able to experience the same joy I’ve received from this field and all the great customers and friends along the way.
p.s. I do miss the Rambler!