At first glance Taupō Locksmiths looks like many other locksmith stores. An array of locks
and keys hang from the walls and a team member is busy in the workshop cutting a key for
a customer. However, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes of this busy locally-owned
Owner Mark Lightfoot has been in the locksmith industry for over 30 years. He purchased his first store in Gisborne in the early 1990’s, but soon realised the growth potential. “In those early days we often had to order products in from Auckland or further afield” says Mark. “The range was pretty limited and our customers were often waiting a long time for their order to arrive. We wanted to provide a much better customer experience so we
decided to start making products ourselves.”
It wasn’t long before Mark realised he was on to something. “Once we started selling our
own security products it was clear that the market was larger than just Gisborne. We were
offering something that people really wanted, and the orders started to come in from all
over New Zealand” says Mark.
Mark began growing the business, opening stores in Napier, Hastings and Taupō. After
seeing the benefits of its central location, the Lightfoot family moved to Taupō 19 years ago.
“Designing our own product range through our 3Zip Security Products company has given us a big advantage. We hold stock in our stores so customers can get what they need quickly.
We also distribute via wholesalers to customers across New Zealand and export electronic
lock products to countries like Canada, Hong Kong, Spain and China.” Mark has visited international tradeshows to keep up with the latest technology developments, and asks his local customers for feedback on new ideas. “We spend a lot of time looking at consumer trends and working in research and development. There has been huge growth in electronic key-less access using Bluetooth, swipe cards, and even mobile phones. As with any business, it’s really important to keep thinking ahead – getting rid of the things that aren’t working and replacing them with new ideas.”
During the recent COVID-19 lockdown the business was only open for essential call-out
work, which put a strain on finances. “Usually around 40% of our work is residential, and our
retail shops are an important source of cashflow” says Brad Haward, Health and Safety
Manager and Taupō Branch Manager. “It was a relief to be able to open the stores at Alert
Level Two. We really appreciate the patience and support of our staff and customers as
we’ve been working through the contact tracing and social distancing requirements.”
For Brad and Mark the financial recovery is all about connecting directly with the
community and supporting local. “We have a policy in our business of shopping local and
spending our money in the communities we live in. Buying something directly from a shop
here in Taupō supports local jobs and our town centre. It really does make a huge
difference” says Brad.