Boro Park Snapshot: Jo Safe Security
The Spy Store shop next door may get more stares but it’s the home security company that has come a longer way to where it is today. The bolt of old has given way to the lock and key of new. But that’s so 20th century. A home protected by Jo-Safe Security on 16th Avenue will likely never see a key cross its threshold.
But that’s not how it was when the Link brothers started their business 32 years ago, Yossi Link told boropark24.com’s Heshy Rubinstein in an interview.
Home security has come a long way since the bolts and bars of antiquity. Today, a homeowner is more likely to get a sophisticated system that combines a hard lock, a surveillance camera to peer outside, an intercom to communicate with the outdoors, and then an access method of entering — either a fingerprint, card or Bluetooth technique.
“We’re not only a locksmith,” Yossi Link hastened to correct, who co-owns the store with his brother Yehuda Arye. “We do complete security. We integrate the mechanical hardware together with the electronic low voltage parts.”
The brothers started in 1987 with just a van and a phone number. They called it Jo-Safe based on Yossi’s name — “Yo-safe turned into Jo-Safe,” he quipped. As their business progressed, Yossi said, “it would be beneficial for us to have a retail location.” They purchased the lot about eighteen years ago at 4414 16th Avenue and opened a storefront. It now bills itself as providing “total security and communications solutions.”
The Link brothers are not at their prime Boro Park locale for nothing; they adapted to the ways of the modern world.
“When I started out in this business, actually, I was handy with mechanical things but I also had quite a bit of knowledge of electronics,” Yossi said. “I figured that it would be a good niche in the market to be able to combine the two. You shouldn’t need to have a locksmith to put up the lock and an electrician to set up the wiring. What you have then is that A blames B and B blames A and the customer is the one who falls between the cracks. Now, the customer knows that they have one person to rely on and cover it all.”
Jo-Safe gets calls from as far away as Queens, something Yossi attributes to their customer service.
“Anyone in retail could tell you — you have to have patience,” he observed. “Deal with the customer nicely, give them the service that they want, and you’ll have a repeat customer. In this business you have to listen carefully to your customer’s needs. Not everything is off the shelf.”
For example, securing a beis medrash is unlike anything out there on the market. Whatever home security system it may have, it needs a complete overhaul for Shabbos, when electronics may not be used. And what about a shul where the rebbe leads a tish until the early hours of Shabbos morning? “Every place has its unique needs,” Yossi noted.
Yossi and Yehuda Arye, members of the Viener kehilla, are more than just locksmiths; they are medical heroes. Both are longtime members of the Boro Park Hatzolah, and would drop their job or rush out of bed to answer a call and save a life. “The job is not running away,” Yossi said. “It will be waiting in an hour when I come back.”
“We do things together,” Yossi said. “We’re in the business together, we’re in Hatzolah together, we’re chavrusas — we learn together.”
The Link brothers grew up in a house of mechanical knowhow, where machines were tinkered to death and the kishkes of toys probed with fascination. They would watch how their father, a typewriter mechanic, would lug home the heavy apparatuses, take it apart and somehow sew it back up, with each tiny part back in its proper place.
Yossi recalled as a child enjoying more to fiddle around and take apart toys then to play with them. His mother once purchased a tchotchke for him. That day it was already taken apart, its parts strewn across the floor. “You bought it for me to enjoy,” little Yossi told his questioning mother. “My enjoyment is to take it apart.”
Was he able to put it
“Most of the time,” he said with a quick laugh.
“And now, boruch Hashem,” he added, “I’m able to do something that I enjoy. I’m doing this for 30-something years and I still enjoy it.”
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