Pat Cochrane started working at his dad’s Lock and Cycle Shop at the age of seven to earn his allowance, and now after spending a lifetime in the business he is ready for retirement and he can’t wait to see what new doors he can unlock.
The business, which has operated in Vernon for about 75 years, was purchased by his father, Harold Cochrane, in 1958 and was originally located on 32nd Street next to KFC.
Cochrane has owned and operated Vernon Lock & Safe since splitting the lock business from the cycle business with his brother in 1989.
With a strong history in Vernon – both his parents were born here and his grandfather drafted up the incorporation papers for the City of Vernon in 1892 – he is grateful to have had a successful business in the community he loves.
“We have always had exceptional support from the community both personally and through the business,” said Cochrane, who isn’t the only one in his family retiring.
His wife Betty Anne also worked in the shop and retired on Feb. 1 along with their dog Griffin, who would greet their customers and look forward to the letter carrier’s treats.
“We’ve got lots and lots of plans. We want to do a lot of travelling, but I do still have my commitment with Coldstream council so we won’t be going on any extended trips for now, and there are lots of volunteer opportunities as well,” he said.
As many small business owners know, Cochrane and Betty Anne have earned their right to enjoy retirement.
He has scaled back his hours in recent years but before, working 70 to 80 hours a week was standard.
With his 55 years in the industry he has seen a lot of changes and has had to adapt to the changes in technology with vehicle lock systems and now the addition of smartphone locking and unlocking.
He is confident the new owner, James Haberman, originally of Vancouver Island, is up for challenges that come with the business.
Vernon Lock & Safe is Haberman’s second locksmith business. He has owned one in Grand Prairie, Alta. for five years and is looking forward to making Vernon his home, with his longtime girlfriend and their five-year-old son.
“It’s easier than I thought it would be (selling his business), I’m very comfortable with the new owners, I know that the business will thrive,” said Cochrane.
Haberman plans to carry on Cochrane’s community-minded legacy as he moves the business forward.
“Anything that Pat has been doing we will continue to do, as well as joining the local business associations,” he said.
The business will see some changes with the addition of security systems.
“We will be expanding into all security, lots of cameras, alarms, access control, fobs, which is what I did to the business in Grand Prairie,” said Haberman.