A Divine Calling

A variety of factors have hit some of those in the locksmith business pretty hard. Still, husband and wife owners Barbara and Lou Herrly, at 75, are still in the industry with their business, Lou’s Lock & Safe.

When the business was at its strongest, Lou’s annual sales hit the $1 million range. They were frequently in demand for installation, repairs, security systems and more. Since 2009 their annual sales have not climbed over $350,000.

The downturn in the industry is related to several factors including the lowering of prices to attract clients and a glut of handymen entering the industry. Lou Herrly, however, is not one to shy away from adversity. He previously worked as a truck driver. A car accident left him with a broken neck and he was told he would be paralyzed for he rest of his life. He ignored this prognosis, preferring to turn his attention to Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”.

Through a state rehabilitation program, Herrly studied to be a locksmith. In 1969, he began his business out of the trunk of his car. He regained his mobility and began building his client base. In 1970 he joined Campus Crusade for Christ as a staff member in Lake Arrowhead. He worked as their locksmith for 5 years. He felt it was a special calling.

In 1976 he felt called again for the move to Riverside. He worked part time in a ministry with a local congregation and part time doing locksmith work. Later his locksmith business grew, including a staff of 12. He patented an under the counter safe that was used in fast-food restaurants. Herrly also worked with the Riverside police on various assignments. The recession hit the business had and between 2007 and 2010 they focused mostly on repairs.

Although the business has had its ups and downs, the president of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce says Herrly is still the “go-to guy” in the community.

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 10:00 AM