Bartolo “Buddy” Valastro expects nothing less than exceptional results when it comes to the spectacular cakes for which he and Carlo’s Bakery have become famous. And when it came time to outfit his new 60,000-square-foot, multipurpose facility in Jersey City, N.J., the star of TLC’s “Cake Boss” reality TV series was just as particular about video surveillance.
“Before it was just the famiglia and me. Now, Carlo’s Bakery is expanding. Outside of the bakery, I’ve got a 50,000-square-foot location of offices, kitchens and classrooms. I can’t be everywhere at once, so I knew I had to bring in some help,” says Valastro. “With over 170 employees, I have to be the eye in the sky. I’m also on the go all the time and I needed a system that lets me stay connected wherever I am.”
Valastro enlisted a local integrator to deliver the level of service and attention to detail for which he has grown accustomed. Working closely with Valastro’s technology director, Leo Minervini, Security Cam Depot teamed up with Interlogix to meet both security and facility/employee management needs on a 100-camera, 15-DVR IP video solution. Intrusion detection and environmental controls were also installed in a unique project that presented cabling and lighting challenges.
Integrator Suits Client’s Tastes
Having learned about low-voltage electronics with the National Guard in the 1980s, Luis Fernandez Jr. founded Security Cam Depot in Neptune, N.J., in 2005 as an online retailer of security equipment. The business transitioned to becoming an installation and service provider, and today has more than 500 customers and 100+ accounts monitored by All-American Monitoring. Fernandez estimates his sales to be about 70% video surveillance, 20% intrusion and 10% access, with a 60%-40% residential/commercial mix.
“My company is small in size and at times I feel like the small fish in a big pond,” says Fernandez, who first began doing business with Carlo’s Bakery in early 2010. “But we have a great customer base and I am proud to say that at least 90% of our business comes from referrals from former clients.”
Valastro, the only son and youngest child of Bartolo “Buddy” Sr. and Mary Valastro, began working in the family bakery when he was 17 years old. He first appeared on television screens when “Cake Boss,” which will surpass 100 episodes this year, debuted in 2009. The popularity of the show, which follows Valastro’s family, their shop and making unique cakes, has not only increased business for Carlo’s Bakery but also tourism to the Hoboken area. In 2010, the city renamed the corner of Washington and Newark streets “Carlo’s Bakery Way” to recognize the landmark’s centennial.
Having decided to convert a warehouse into a state-of-the-art complex that would include Valastro’s offices, consultation room, multiple baking rooms, decorating room, freezers, walk-ins, shipping/receiving, cooking classes, wood shop, gym, locker rooms, break rooms and TV production offices, stepping up security became a high priority.
“You can’t manage every single employee at the same time in a location this large,” says Valastro. “Also, we’ve got any number of things happening in all of the rooms here; classes, decorating, meetings, baking, packing, etc. We’ve got people coming in and out of here all the time.”
Fernandez, an Interlogix Security Pro Dealer, was contacted about the project in March 2011. He went onsite the following month to begin running the mammoth cabling infrastructure before installing system components near the end of the year and completing the job in early 2012. Contracting with such a high profile personality was an exciting proposition for Fernandez, but one that he did not find intimidating.
(l to r:) Jawaid Chotani, district manager, Interlogix; Buddy Valastro; Luis Fernandez, owner, Security Cam Depot; Kostas Mellos, video sales leader, Interlogix; Juan Cancel and Antonio Ortiz, both of Security Cam Depot.
“My philosophy is to treat every client like a celebrity. I viewed this job as I do all my jobs and delivered what the customer expected,” says Fernandez. “Carlo’s Bakery had high expectations but not unreasonable. They wanted the best and expected nothing less. I believe we delivered.”
Video Recipe Includes Megapixel
As mentioned, the objective to achieve a high level of security while also enhancing the ability to manage the facility was tightly intertwined. Among many key capabilities was video being accessible remotely from PCs, laptops and mobile devices, as well as scalability so the solution could grow with Valastro’s burgeoning empire. This entailed a strong vision not only to be leading edge today but also allow an easy migration for further expansion and technological advancements. Thus, the design phase was critical, requiring an intensively collaborative effort among end user, integrator and manufacturer.
“We found out very fast that technology drove Buddy, and we needed to find out what their expansion plans were because the technology had to withstand a significant amount of time. You don’t want to be obsolete in six months or a year; you want to grow because they will grow,” says Kostas Mellos, video sales leader for Interlogix, part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security. “So our approach was very consultative.”
Determining the most effective security for the site proved a bit daunting from the standpoint of its size, along with the large volume of employees and visitors coming and going throughout the course of operations. “With the show and now our baking classes, we have people coming in here all the time,” says Valastro. “So we had to keep that in mind when choosing where to install the cameras.”