SBDC Helps Locksmith Business Thrive



Tabitha Beneke knew she was on tap to take over her father’s locksmith business when he could no longer run it, but when his health failed and he passed unexpectedly, she had to make some important decisions.

Her father’s business, Keys Plus, was located in Washington state. Beneke lived with her own family in Illinois with no plans to move to Washington. The business employed three full time employees and served a town of 30,000 residents. When Beneke met with difficulties attempting to deal with vendors and suppliers her father had worked with, a loan officer suggested she speak with the Washington Small Business Development Center (WSBDC). The WSBDC provides advice at no charge to those interested in starting or growing a small business.

While Beneke’s father handled the locksmith portion of the business very well, he did not focus on the business side of things. Keys Plus was started in 1979 with her father, a self-taught locksmith cutting keys in a small building in a shopping center parking lot. The business grew over the next 40 years.

WSBDC assigned advisor Jerry Petrick to Beneke and he recommended she read “The E-Myth Revisited” which detailed the realities for small business owners. Beneke was able to take the counseling she received from the WSBDC and combine it with her own skills to come up with a business plan, update the company’s business systems and convince her three employees that the changes were all for the good. She credits the WSBDC with helping her continue the business’ success.

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM