A growing number of Valley residents concerned about security issues are buying safes for their homes.
“We’re seeing the safe industry expanding not only in the Valley but throughout the state and nationally,” said Dan Bashore, 43, co-owner with his wife, Annie, 42, of Arizona Safe Outlet, 444 W. Main St., Mesa.
“The demand for safes is tied to several things, including the population growth and a general sense of insecurity,” Dan Bashore said.
One of the primary reasons homeowners purchase safes is to store weapons such as rifles and handguns.
“Most of our customers want a safe where their children — or burglars — can’t easily get at their guns,” said Annie Bashore. “They want to stop storing them under their beds or in a closet.”
“The next biggest motivation is to protect documents and valuables from being destroyed by fire,” she said. “This is especially true since the wildfires in California destroyed so many homes and personal items.”
Over the past 10 years, sales increased about 13 percent each year, said Ray Crosby, owner of Provo, Utah-based Champion Safe Co., one of the nation’s largest safe manufacturers. There are about 300,000 safes sold every year in United States, mostly for residential dwellings, Crosby said.
“Sales are increasing tremendously, especially with the passage of gun security laws,” he said. “Twenty years ago you couldn’t sell a safe.”
Another reason customers are purchasing safes is to keep nostalgic collectables safe.
“Some people feel the dolls or toys they played with as children or hand-me-downs are just as important to protect as wads of money,” Annie Bashore said.
The Bashores opened their safe store in October after selling safes for four years in Las Cruces, N.M. Before that, they lived in their native Oregon, where Dan Bashore worked for more than two years delivering safes.
The couple not only sell two brands of safes — Champion and Superior — but they also deliver them. Weights range from 525 pounds to as much as 1,750 pounds.
“People are amused when they see us both rolling a big safe into a house or office,” Dan Bashore said. “We’ve mastered the skills of moving them,” his wife added.
Prices vary from $999 to as high as $4,800 for one 6-foot-high and 41-inch-wide safe called the Trophy 45. That safe contains 45 cubic feet of storage space and can protect items for one hour at fire-enhanced temperatures of up to 1,350 degrees.
Each safe comes with a fire protection certification following tests. The tests give the potential buyer some idea of how long the contents of the safe can withstand damage as the outside temperature increases.
“Another trend is that people don’t like us driving up to their front door with a safe,” Dan said. “They usually ask us to park behind their house or out of the way so we’re not so conspicuous. It is a basic security thing.”
Since opening their store, the Bashores are selling them at a growing pace, mostly for residential use, but also to commercial buildings or offices, he said. Dan Bashore said safes are usually stored in the “man’s room” or in a home office, bedroom closet or the garage.
“There’s an Old West macho attitude about owning a safe,” he said. “There was a time not long ago when people didn’t want safes. But times are changing. Today, the popular saying when selling safes is — the best day to buy a safe is the day before you get robbed.”
Among their growing customers are winter residents. “The snowbirds can store valuable items in their homes here instead of having to move them back and forth,” Annie said.