A security shutter firm responds to growing demand as businesses seek ways to better secure commercial properties
Photo: Sunrise Rollups & Shades owner Sebastian Kellner
A FEW YEARS ago, Sebastian Kellner started talking to insurance companies after seeing an increase in businesses with plywood covering windows and door openings that had been broken by smash-and-grab thieves or vandals.
As the owner of shed and small structure firm Backyard Escape Studios, Kellner had used DDK Security & Shade’s metal rolling shutters in some of the structures he had installed for homeowners, and he knew DDK did some commercial work as well.
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Seeing the potential to increase the commercial side of the DDK business, Sebastian and his wife Breanne purchased the company in March 2022 and renamed it Sunrise Rollups & Shades.
Since then, the company, which custom manufactures the aluminum roll-up doors and shutters in a shop in Port Stanley, has installed numerous shutters on retail storefronts, restaurants, pharmacies, dispensaries, banks and other businesses across the London region. The business also produces shutters and roll-up screens for residential applications.
It’s no secret that safety and security concerns have risen dramatically for business owners over the past few years. In fact, the City of London now offers a one-time Core Area Safety Audit Grant that will cover half the cost (to a maximum of $10,000) for safety improvements, including storefront gates to close front entrance alcoves and recessed entryways when the ground floor business is closed.
Sandi and Paul Kaplan tapped into that funding when they decided to install Sunrise Rollups shutters across the recessed doorways at their commercial property on King Street, which they say was not an easy decision. “We both have social work backgrounds, and we have enormous empathy for people who live on the street,” says Sandi Kaplan.
Initially, people who were sheltering in the entrance alcove at night were asked to be respectful, clean up the space and leave by 8 a.m., before the Kaplans’ tenants opened their businesses for the day. “They were great, and there were no problems until another group moved in and encamped in the doorways and wouldn’t leave in the morning,” explains Kaplan. “Our priority was to protect our tenants and their staff.”
While Kaplan says installing metal shutters was not an inexpensive option, it has proven to be effective.
According to Kellner, Sunrise Rollups security shutters are custom manufactured and can be produced in sizes up to 12 feet in height and 230 inches in width. They work very effectively as a deterrent, but that doesn’t mean people won’t still attempt to break in — almost always unsuccessfully, says Kellner.
“When you have something like this in place, it makes it more difficult [to break in] and also takes more time, which gives the police time to respond. They do damage the shutters, but they are fairly easy to repair. I have one technician who spends about half his day on service calls.”
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Kellner says most business owners he talks with would prefer to pay for a shutter repair than deal with broken glass, installing plywood while they wait for a replacement window, paying the deductible and hoping their insurance premiums don’t increase too much.
And while he acknowledges that installing security shutters isn’t something that sits atop most business owners’ wish lists, keeping assets protected has become an ongoing topic of concern for many. “It’s becoming a much more common choice,” he says. Kym Wolfe