Locksmith ready to unlock his next job
Handing over keys is nothing new for Invercargill locksmith Doug Hartley.
He's been passing customers freshly-minted keys from his Kelvin St store for almost 20 years. But some time in the not-too-distant future the keys he will turn over will be to his own Key-Wee Lock and Repair company as he takes on his next project - retirement.
After two decades fixing locks, sports equipment, and an odd assortment of household goods Hartley has put the business for sale to try his hand at retirement because "that's what my wife said".
Hartley, who asserted he had "never had a boring day at work" in his life, said he's seen many changes in the industry during his time. Most notable was the gradual shift to electronic car keys but every day bought its own set of challenges, he said.
From un-identifiable keys to pot lids to fishing rods - he's had a go at fixing or recreating them all.
"Sometimes you've got to think outside the square."
The best part of the job was the customers and it paid to treat every one of them as you would a friend because, often, they ended up becoming one anyway, he said.
Though there would still be the odd quirky customer with an odd request come through the door, he said.
"Oh yes we get all sorts."
Once the business sold Hartley would stay on for six months or so to help the new owners get their head around the business and train them up.
Until then it will be business as usual.
The Southland Times