It’s hard to believe that nine years have passed since Jay Sofer founded Lockbusters in October 2008. Looking back over the years, he remembers more than a few hiccups — from technological disasters to major traffic jams — but in the end, there were a few tried-and-true things that got him through it all. Today, Lockbusters is thriving, and Jay has even launched a new business venture: taking over his father’s business, Night & Day Locksmith.
So, to celebrate just how far Lockbusters has come, let’s take a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the past nine years.
Sometimes, things just go wrong — especially when a certain fruity tech company’s reliable-until-they’re-not products are in the mix. Jay experienced two major operational breakdowns during the past nine years, each of which wreaked temporary havoc on his business.
The first was his iPhone (aka his entire business), where he did invoicing, made estimates, took calls from customers, and even received payments. When one morning his trusty iPhone kicked the bucket, Jay realized his entire business would be in limbo until he found a worthy replacement. While Jay now pledges allegiance to the Google Pixel, he had a good run with the BlackBerry in the interim years (and is still mourning its demise!).
The second havoc-wreaking incident was when Jay’s trusty old Chevy petered out. Given that Lockbusters is a necessarily mobile business, this sudden loss of transportation posed a major problem! In the end, though, both of these crises were rectified: Jay updated to a new phone and bought a Toyota Prius, both of which definitely fit in the “good” column.
While technology does have a nasty habit of shutting down the minute we need it the most, it also can open doors to new opportunities. For example, Jay’s business was radically transformed in its early days by two revolutionary platforms: Square and Yelp.
Yelp ads dramatically expanded Jay’s customer base, opening his business up to all five boroughs of New York. In fact, Jay has been so successful in growing the Lockbusters business with Yelp ads that he is often asked to speak on behalf of Yelp.
Square similarly opened Jay up to new business — once he was able to accept credit cards on the go, his clientele expanded. Because the locksmith business is typically “old school” in its transactions, potential clients were pleasantly surprised by the convenience of paying by credit card.
While broken iPhones and Chevys can always be replaced or fixed, over the past nine years Jay has experienced some difficulties that just can’t be remedied: namely, NYC’s traffic and parking infrastructure. From gridlock and inefficient bike lanes to a poorly designed parking app and Muni Meters that just don’t work, Jay has faced his share of difficulty getting around the city!
Despite these difficulties, though, Jay wouldn’t trade the past nine years for anything. For every bump in the road, he gets to meet a cute dog or a new loyal customer. Here’s to another nine years!