Louisville Magazine

FEB 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 2.19 59 1101 W. Broadway "My most cherished early memory of Klein Brothers is more of a feeling than an event," says Robert Klein Jr., the owner of the locksmith business that has been in the family since 1914. It was a pride thing. Pride: How Robert Sr. would talk about working with his father and uncles at the lock shop after school at St. X and, later, after classes at U of L and after returning from the Navy. Pride: Junior coming in with Senior on Saturdays and fill- ing the Coke machines out front or playing with the homemade lockpick his dad made for him. If Junior was lucky, they'd stop at Kupi's Restau- rant for breakfast on the way in. e only son, Junior was expected to work at the store — which he started doing at 15 — and eventually take over, which he did in 1991 at age 32. Klein, now 59, has "really narrowed down my job description." He's in and out of the shop on West Broad- way, leaving the day-to-day to general manager Jaime Davidson, who has been with the business for 23 years. On a recent Tuesday, Davidson reviews some of the to-do's: the safe work for a JayC grocery in Indiana, and the PNC Bank job, which is usu- ally something like replacing a desk lock or changing out a keypad. A typical day sees 25 or 30 jobs: basic lock changes, which can take about 45 minutes; rekeying a whole apartment building, which is a weeklong affair; fixing the locks on U-Scans, automatic doors or in the customer-service area at one of 200 Kroger locations, from Southern Illinois to Knoxville, Tennessee. Klein Bros. services all things doors in the Louisville Metro Government buildings. In high-traffic areas, the door closers (the elbow-like joint that pulls a door shut) abrade constantly. "Ever been to the Hall of Justice?" Davidson says. "Pretty hefty crowd. at door's opened over 500 times a day." ey'll replace those closers every 10 to 12 months, right down to the hinges. Sometimes they'll drill open safes when a commercial customer forgets the combination, or when the police or FBI call, maybe six times a year. Davidson says one of the toughest jobs is when domestic violence leads to a lock change. e front room of Klein Bros. stretches narrow but long. Rows and rows of blank keys — almost like shiny wallpaper — fill pegboard panels. Some are skeleton keys, which remind Davidson of the time 20 years ago when he had to pick a lock to save a two-year-old who'd trapped himself in a bathroom. He says the lock business is steady and knows it won't go away. "People will always get fired," he says. When that happens, Klein Bros. changes safe combina- tions, door locks. "Sooner or later, a house will get broken into, a busi- ness," he says. "Crime is always going to be there." It's the lock mechanisms that might change. He sees trends on houses in the northeast U.S., like drill- and pick-resistant high-security locks. Technology advances, too. Davidson mentions retina scanners, and thumbprint readers, which Klein Bros. installed at Brown & William- son Tobacco Co. in North Carolina. "e mechanical part will never stop," he says. "ings will always wear out." Klein Bros. Safe & Lock

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