Pop-A-Lock - December 2018



DECEMBER 2018 Where Basketball Meets Business My Journey to Pop-A-Lock

W hen you’re running the sidelines with coach Eddie Sutton and challenging the likes of Dwane Casey, current NBA head coach of the Detroit Pistons, the last things on your mind are locks. But if anything is going to prepare you for operating a business later in life, it’s waking up every day trying to figure out how to help win an SEC championship. My journey to starting Pop-A-Lock didn’t begin like most business owners experience. In the 1980s and into the early ‘90s, my day- to-day life consisted of trying to help young men reach their full potential in the game of basketball. Actually, you might remember me from Sports Talk Radio or Wildcat pregame shows. As a former assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, I spent my time working with the top recruits in the country and the best basketball minds in the game. The job taught me problem-solving, perseverance, and ingenuity — all characteristics I see as necessary for running a successful company. When the time came for me to move on from coaching, I made the only transition I knew how. I went into a job that combined both basketball and business.

that only adversity can bring. I was at a loss for where to go next when I got a call from my friend who worked at Pop-A-Shot. This friend informed me that he just played golf with a gentleman who was looking to expand a business called Pop-A-Lock. I looked at the situation and believed this opportunity was fate. As one of the initial franchisees, our young and burgeoning business started with a focus on helping people who were locked out of their cars. After a few years, we saw that our customers had greater needs, so we expanded to better serve them. We started re-keying homes and businesses, while maintaining an emphasis on making automobile keys. The more time I spend in this industry, the more I realize that needing a locksmith isn’t a matter of if ; it’s a matter of when . The necessity doesn’t just go for individual uses, but also for businesses. When I’m not breaking down the Wildcats season or helping others with their locks, you can find me with the love of my life, Marilyn, and our two goldendoodles, Kelsey and Beckett. They’re beautiful dogs and bring irreplaceable joy to our lives. I’m also an avid tennis player and try to get out on the court three or four times a week. At 72 years old, I feel fortunate to still have the skill to hit a nice drop shot with my backhand. Basketball, business, and life all come down to the same unifying concept for me. When push comes to shove, I want to help people in need. I was able to do that as a coach, and now I do that as an entrepreneur. Not everyone is blessed to have a life so rewarding, and this holiday season, I choose to be grateful. I hope you can find the same thankfulness in your life. -Doug Barnes

“If anything is going to prepare you for operating a business later in life, it’s waking up every day trying to figure out how to help win an SEC championship.”

Pop-A-Lock wasn’t my first business with a “pop.” For those of you who love arcade games, my first job after coaching was functioning as a regional distributor for Pop-A-Shot. I’d travel around the Midwest, showing people the fun side of basketball. It wasn’t quite like watching Kenny Walker throw down a dunk, but it still let me see the joy a simple game can bring to the masses. But the fun didn’t last long because the company decided to do away with the position of regional distributor, and I was faced with those defining moments


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