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Since 1886

If you're not familiar with Pinder's Security Products, you're sure to have seen their handiwork. One of Canada's most successful lock companies, Pinder's offers a wide range of services including locksmithing, wholesale door and hardware supply, access control systems, security safes, video surveillance, high security key systems and contract hardware. Their staff can provide everything from custom doors and frames to lock changes and repairs to auto openers and fire exit devices to digital locks and intercoms.

The Pinder's success story goes all the way back to the late 1880s - a time when Queen Victoria was still the reigning monarch and inventions like "the horseless carriage" had yet to see the light.

Looking for a Better Life

It all started with a man named Bennison Pinder, the youngest son of Stephen and Mary-Ann Pinder - a merchant farming couple that had immigrated to Canada from England with their two sons and three daughters, looking for a better life. For several years, Bennison lived on their small family farm in Luther Township in Wellington County, Ontario.

The farming life was all fine and well for his siblings. But like his father Stephen before him, Bennison dreamed of something more. In 1886, he decided to move to St. Catharines to search for greater business opportunities and put his technical skills to good use.

Things quickly fell into place. Bennison courted and married a local girl named Louisa Haynes. The young entrepreneur also bought a small parcel of land at 18 James Street for $500 and erected a brick building to house his new business - "B. Pinder, Gun & Locksmith." Soon Louisa was raising their family in the modest apartment upstairs while Bennison spent his days working in the long narrow shop below.

In those early formative days, Bennison was a jack of all trades. Although he focused on lock and gunsmithing, he also sold push lawn mowers, hunting and fishing gear, and sporting goods. He even sharpened blades and did general repair work on everything from bicycles to tea kettles. Over time, Bennison began to grow his operation, and by the early 1900s, his son George Stephen Pinder had come on board to help run the family business.

A Brother and Sister Team

By the 1940s, George had handed the business over to the third generation - his son Robert (Bob) and daughter June. During this time, the store stocked everything from bicycles, fishing rods and tennis racquets to lawn mowers, toboggans and hunting gear.

But the store was also in need of some restructuring so Bob and June came up with the idea to divide the business in half. Bob would take care of locksmithing, gunsmithing, and the service and repair work - June would dedicate her attentions to sporting goods.

An expert sportsfisher and marksman, June Pinder never married but was always considered one of the boys. Every fall, she and several of her male friends would travel north to hunt, and made the news when the five feet tall woman shot a 236-pound, 10-point buck during one trip in 1956. A charming but colourful character, June would often tell customers of her exploits with the rod and reel. Sometimes, she would even stand a willing participant against the back wall of Pinder's store and snatch a cigarette out of their lips with a sharp cast of her fly fishing rod. If anyone needed sporting goods, June Pinder was clearly a name you could trust.

June continued to operate Pinder's "Sportsman's Center" in downtown St. Catharines for years, doing a brisk mail order business with customers throughout the U.S. and Canada and as far afield as New Zealand. By 1960, however, opportunity knocked, and June left the Garden City to manage a sporting goods distributing company in Toronto. But her brother Bob still had big plans for the Pinder's business.

In the late 1950s, Bob purchased property at 300 Lake Street and built a new location to house the business. With his sister's departure, Bob Pinder decided to focus on what the Pinders had always done best, namely locksmithing, saw sharpening, gunsmithing and gun sales, and lawn and garden supplies.

Change has always been a central core of the Pinder's success story, adapting to shifts in the marketplace when the time is just right. In 1960, for instance, major hardware chains like Canadian Tire had begun to infringe on Bob's gun business. Unable to compete in the larger arena, Bob liquidated his inventory of guns so he could focus on the lock and lawnmower trades exclusively.

Pinder's continued to flourish as it entered the 1970s. But there were more changes in store for the company. Bob was getting older and looking to pass the management of the family business on to his sons - Robert Jr., Doug, Dave, Richard and Greg. But over the coming decade, the five of them all felt the pull of the family legacy, and ultimately returned to join their father full-time. The new "Robert Pinder & Sons" was born.

Development and Renewal

Although Robert Pinder & Sons continued to build on their strengths in locks and lawn and garden equipment, they also decided to test out a new area - skate sharpening. Bob Pinder had always been a big hockey fan, and even played professional hockey for a time. As a result, he had the notion to offer a skate sharpening service - all for a dollar. It wasn't unusual to find Bob showing off his wrist shot to local kids in the back of the store while his sons were busy running the business up front.

The skate sharpening idea was a popular one, but not as popular as the rest of their flourishing operation. By the 1980s, their facility on 300 Lake Street had become far too small to accommodate the growth of their business. Bob and his sons built a brand new retail location at 25 Nihan Drive so they could serve their customers better.

But the 1980s were also a time for soul-searching and transition with the Pinders. By 1986, Bob had retired and the five Pinder brothers and their cousin, Norm Schwenker, continued their locksmithing operation on Nihan Drive with the newly-renamed "Pinder's Lock & Security."

Pinder's is now the largest independent security company in Ontario with a staff of over 40 lock and electronic specialists, not to mention 10 fully-equipped service trucks. The bulk of their work is focused on the commercial, industrial and institutional markets - everything from universities, school boards, prisons and hospitals to hydro facilities, water treatment plants, military bases and heavy industries.

As a fully integrated security company, Pinder's operates just like a design / build firm, developing, installing and integrating state-of-the-art security systems for their clients. Pinder's has a number of experts on staff including security design consultants, network systems implementation specialists and electronic security systems trainers to make sure that each client has a properly-designed and implemented security program that meets all their requirements.