How did this business get started? “We are a division of Holmes Electric, Inc., which was founded in 1908, by my grandfather, Oliver Wendell Holmes,” said Stephen Holmes Wheeler, who operates the security systems division, along with his mother, Katherine H. Wheeler. “My grandfather initially opened a store on Hay Street, in Fayetteville, that sold electrical supplies and appliances in the early 1900s. In addition to selling appliances, the business evolved over the years into a department store that sold hardware, sporting goods and housewares, which later added gifts and accessories. These items were later phased out to make room for the expansion of the security division. My father, Luke Wheeler, owned a chain of furniture stores. He joined the business in 1950. He researched security systems for his own use, and then got into selling security systems. The security systems division was formed in 1967.” Home and business security systems include burglar alarms, fire alarms, camera systems, central vacuum systems, digital wireless monitoring and a 24-hour central station monitoring service.
Why did you choose this business? “It’s a family business. I am third generation in this business. My son, Luke Holmes Wheeler, is fourth generation. He works in commercial sales.”
Who are your key people? “Every one of our employees is important to us. It is a group effort and we are a team. Every employee is valuable and every employee is a team player. We all take care of customers.”
What is the economy’s effect on the business? “Surprisingly, when the economy gets bad, people invest in security. When the economy is good, people also invest in security. We are blessed in both cases.”
What is your most popular service or product? “We offer the latest high-tech security with local personal service. The burglar and fire security alarms, the commercial fire alarms and the camera systems are all popular. You can learn more about our products and services at holmeselectricsecurity.com. Our monitoring service sets us apart. We have our own monitoring center. We use our own alarms and our own staff to man it. The remote alarm apps are also a popular product. You can control your security system, lights, thermostat and locks from any PC or smartphone.”
What is the best part of owning this business? “I enjoy being able to custom design security solutions for our customers. We meet, design and create security so that our customers can feel safe and have peace of mind.”
What is the most challenging part of owning this business? “We are family-owned and our employees are like family. Finding good employees, helping them, and working together as a team to create a wonderful culture that people enjoy being a part of, is one of the most challenging parts of the business.”