JP Lock and Security has set out to make a name for themselves as a veteran, woman, minority, and family-owned company based in Jamaica Plain.
Husband and wife team, Brian Jacobs and Trish Del Rosario, tackled the daunting challenge of starting their locksmith business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking back on their first year of business in 2020, they have quite a story to tell.
"We wanted to open our business in JP not just because we're residents here, but also because we love the people, the area, and the sense of community," said Jacobs. "If I can help someone who is locked out or help them feel more secure especially in these crazy times is really rewarding. I absolutely love the technical aspects of the job."
Jacobs previously worked as a locksmith and was determined to start his own business. He had a history working in security and information technology, but got tired of working behind a desk. As a locksmith he loves that there is never an average day. One day it's working on an old lock in a mansion, or repairing a door from a break-in, or installing a smart lock.
He started the company in 2019, and a few months later, she left her full-time job to grow JP Lock and Security as a residential, commercial, and automotive locksmithing business.
"As the daughter of a mechanic, my dad made sure I knew about tools and how to use them," said Del Rosario. "I was usually with him whenever he was working on the car or fixing something in the house. This sparked my interest in tinkering with things from taking a radio apart to fix it or refurbishing vintage items."
In February 2020, they only offered mobile services, but were receiving larger job requests and realized they would need to find a physical location for their business in order to continue to grow and meet client demands. They quickly set a goal to find a workshop space, which would also establish their roots in the community and give customers the opportunity to come in with locks, keys, and other restoration projects.
They started working with Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation’s (JPNDC) Director of Small Business Services Carlos Espinoza, who worked with the couple, connecting them with local commercial real estate contacts, helping them to find a great location that they could renovate and make their own at 166 South St. They were proud to root their business in Jamaica Plain and opened their doors in August.
JPNDC also helped the business learn about digital marketing, which led them to hire someone to manage their website and social media. JPNDC also helped them access more than $50,000 in government grants and loans, helping stabilize their revenue streams that were impacted by COVID-19.
“I don’t think we would have been able to do this without JPNDC, to be honest,” said Jacobs. “Trish and I are very much on our own, so JPNDC has been our guiding light through it all. Your support really has been ‘the thing’ that made this possible.”
Looking forward, they have set goals to continue building their brand, secure larger annual contracts with property owners throughout the city, and expand their business with two or three trucks and increased staff on the road. Through it all, they want to continue to be a community-focused business rooted here in JP.
Randi Sayers is a Resource Development Specialist for the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.