Locksmith Steven Grunstein is a forward thinking, adventurous entrepreneur. For the past ten years, until the very beginning of January 2020, he conducted his business on call, moving around the US to start mobile locksmith businesses in Chicago, Miami, San Francisco and Austin. Finally, he returned to his home state of New York.
Now, he wanted to open his first storefront. A few months ago, he leased 328a Columbus Avenue, between 75th and 76th Streets – purchasing Golden Key Locksmith from the long-time former owner. The narrow alley-turned-into-a-shop, squeezed between two buildings, has served as a locksmith business for decades.
The location was convenient, just fifteen blocks north of the apartment he shares with his wife Taryn. The couple married last week and Taryn is also working in the business.
Grunstein’s plan was to offer the full range of locksmithing: “retail, installation and repair services”, including everything from making keys, lock and door repair and replacement, access control installation, and installing security systems.
Suddenly, the new business owner was confronted with the COVID-19 lockdown. “It was absolutely the worst time to open a business.” It had already been hard to find dependable employees. Grunstein prefers to hire experienced locksmiths and enjoys working with Veterans because they have a good ethic and he admires their service to the country. But, how was he going to pay the very good assistant he had found? Grunstein’s MO seems to be a positive attitude, energy and a can do inventiveness. Within two weeks, Grunstein channeled his passion for keeping his community safe to add antibacterial and antiviral deep cleaning services to his business.
“We do everything, antibacterial and antiviral sprays, fogging, misting, Ultra Violet light disinfection, and traditional wipe-down services using EPA approved commercial grade disinfectants.” He explains that an electric spraying device that has been known for cleaning during this Coronavirus period, “is actually not that effective, because it heats up the spraying agent making it less useful.”
Talking decontamination, Grunstein explains that a cleaning only lasts until the next person infected with coronavirus comes in and sneezes or touches a surface. “This is not a welcome message to managers of essential businesses that stay open, or building landlords or who need to keep lobbies and elevators clean. Offices that have stayed open also need desks and computers and printers and fax machines wiped down.”
Grunstein says that due to the effectiveness of routine decontamination, he offers reduced pricing for clients who see the benefit of disinfecting 2-3 times a week or even every other week. Prior to COVID, the months between March and July would have been the busiest time of the year for a locksmith, since so many people move into new apartments. “But, no more. It’s mind boggling,” says Grunstein.
One trend he’s noticed is that a lot of management companies have been contacting them to install access control systems, as keyless entries greatly reduce the level of contact found in highly trafficked areas of buildings.
Golden Key Locksmith is reachable 24/7 at (212) 580-0066. Or check out their website: www.nygkey.com
Featured images c/o Google Street View