Dunbar Armored lost several N.Y. clients

September 30, 2001|By Gus G. Sentementes

Dunbar Armored Inc. lost a quarter of its armored car business in Lower Manhattan when the World Trade Center towers fell.

It didn't lose workers or assets, but the Hunt Valley company had more than 15 clients in the World Trade Center - from a Borders bookstore to the Bank of Tokyo - for which it transported money by armored car and provided armed security guards.

"We've lost them, billing has stopped, we can't service them and they're gone," said Kevin R. Dunbar, president of the armored security services company. "Off the top of my head, it's $50,000 to $100,000 a year in revenue that won't be reoccurring because there's nothing to service."

The country's third-largest armored car company with $180 million in revenue last year, Dunbar also faces escalating labor costs across the country because of tighter security at airports, commercial banks, the Federal Reserve banking system and retail clients. The company has 1,000 armored cars and operates in 32 states.

"Security checks take longer and that means more man-hours," Dunbar said. He expects to pass any higher costs through to the company's customers.

Dunbar foresees long-term growth for the security industry in the post-Sept. 11 world, and his company could ultimately benefit.

Dunbar Armored isn't just about heavily fortified trucks. It also offers alarm monitoring, security guards and cash-handling services. And in a weak economy, marked by widespread layoffs and cost-cutting, Dunbar is gaining business from customers who outsource some of those operations, Dunbar said.

Still, replacing that lost revenue in New York will be a long ordeal, Dunbar said, as companies at or near "ground zero" move their operations elsewhere to keep running.

"We have to look at getting revenue from other parts of New York, at other boroughs, or across the Hudson River in New Jersey," Dunbar said.

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