But the locally owned private security company has thrived over the decades, President Kirk Davis said, by training its employees and giving clients what they want. The latter includes keeping out of the spotlight.
"It's not about us. It's about what the client wants," said Mr. Davis, an executive with the company eight years.
The company, headquartered in an understated building at 419 North Huron St., got its start April 19, 1919, when founder Harley Harris got a contract to protect Toledo's Tiedtke's department store from thieves.
The firm was sold to Joseph Ackerman in 1939 and was sold again in 1965 to the late Wayne Wunder. Three generations of Wunders have owned and operated the company, which is now co-owned by Chief Executive Scott Wunder, his mother, Susan Wunder, and his sister Leslie Wunder.
The firm provides guards and security services to firms throughout Ohio and across southern Michigan, from Grand Rapids to Detroit. It does not identify customers, but said its clients include auto, health-care, banking, and retail firms, utilities, and public institutions.
It has 400 employees and guards whose training and skills vary with client needs, including basic watchmen, armed guards, and undercover plain clothes guards.
In 2003, a subsidiary, Security Solutions Group, was formed to specialize in electronic monitoring and surveillance. That has enabled the firm to keep up with competition, the CEO said.
The struggling economy, Mr. Davis said, has been a double-edged sword. It has led to a 40 percent growth in sales since 2005 as companies downsize and face a greater need for protection of mothballed assets or better internal security, he explained.
But more recently, the growth has stalled as clients have become unable to afford more security, he added.
However, the economy has meant limited employee turnover. The firm pays $8.50 to $9.50 an hour and provides medical benefits. "We've got a lot of quality people," Mr. Davis said.
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