West Virginia Alarm Installer Marks 100 Years in Business


For decades, residents and businesses in Charleston, W. Va., have found that when they need to install an alarm system or fix a lock, the place to turn to is Judith Judy’s basement. Judy’s Locksmiths and Alarmmasters is celebrating its 100th year in business, with nearly 50 of those with the basement of Judy’s longtime home serving as the company’s hub of operations.

Judy’s has changed throughout the years, starting as a locksmith company at the turn of the last century and getting into the alarm installation and integration business to fulfill the needs of its customers.

Judy says the best tips on keeping a company going for more than a century lie in the ability to persevere and be open to changes in the business. Despite its 100 years in business, Judy’s servicemen are installing the latest network CCTV and high-tech access control systems for residential and commercial alarm and fire accounts.

“You need to realize you have to grow. You need to understand what your clients need. You’re going to lose out if you ignore that,” says Judy, who nonetheless says technology doesn’t replace the basics. “No matter how complex the system is, you still need that basic key. Somewhere along the line, there has to be something basic.”

Changing with the times is one reason why Judy’s expanded beyond its locksmith business in 1991 and got into the alarm business. Now, they have one of the few National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies’ (NICET)-certified fire alarm technicians in West Virginia.

“I have very good service people working for me,” Judy says. “They’re very innovative and able to come up with ideas when people think ‘you can’t do that.'”

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