Safe and Sound

Lee’s Lock Service getting lots of attention at new Madison location

Owner Smith turns chance experience
into an enterprise

(May 2019) – Sometimes seemingly random events shape people for the rest of their lives. Such was the case with locksmith Lee Smith of Madison, Ind. While working in maintenance at a local apartment complex, he helped someone who was having trouble with a lock. Not having any specific training, he was still was able to remedy the problem in just a few minutes.
In appreciation he was given a $20 dollar bill, and as Smith describes it, “Immediately, a light went on and I thought maybe I could make some money doing this.”

Photo by Ben Newell

Lee Smith poses at his new shop on Madison, Ind.’s Main Street. He offers a variety of services.

And so began a long journey that has eventually led him to start his own business. Now he has a storefront in downtown Madison.
A year ago, Smith opened his Lee’s Lock Service shop at 112 E. Main St. When you meet Smith, you have no choice but to pick up his enthusiasm for his occupation and his store.
During the interview the words “ how proud” was used several times as he talked about working in the downtown and working with people in the community. He points out that downtown Madison has not had a locksmith for more than 70 years.
It took many years of juggling a full-time job and working as a locksmith on the side to eventually decide that he was ready to do the lock business full time. To learn his skill, Lee has taken many classes, some of them very specialized. Since most locks are different, you need to take courses from the manufacturer to become one of their certified technicians.
In the beginning, he thought he would specialize in government installations. He found that the hardest part of that kind of work was not learning the workings of the electronic locks but rather  jumping through the security clearance hoops that all employees have to do that come in contact with sensitive information or installations.
Though he has cut back on his work for the government, it hasn’t stopped the occasional call from a military installation that has accidentally locked a safe with the combination inside.
Smith said he is busy with work from servicing individuals and businesses in the local area. He now has five employees, all of whom are trained to cut keys, install doors and locks, and help you pick out the appropriate hardware.
Smith himself has been a victim of being locked out of his own service van. It seems his own electronic system malfunctioned and left him trapped while he was on the job. After a long delay and visualizing calling the police to break his window, he figured out a solution to his predicament and avoided an embarrassing police report.
Some of Smith’s satisfied customers include Dick and Marsha McCracken, who live in a restored home on Main Street in Madison. They contracted with Smith to replace their exterior locks and were so satisfied with the quality of his work and hardware that they had the interior doors also upgraded.
Smith has an assortment of solutions for any kind of security problem. From high quality entrance systems that are much heftier than what you might typically find in the big box stores to an assortment of dead bolts. In the store you will find a variety of safes that are sure to fit your particular need.

If you’re buying a safe at an auction, he suggests that you call him first to see if it’s going to be a cost efficient purchase. In fact, if you have any questions about locks, give him a call, and if he can’t help you, he will have a recommendation of someone who can.

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