Lone locksmith closes doors
Come July 31, Fredericksburg’s only locksmith will close his doors.
Jack Milburn, of JJ&J Locksmith, has served the community for 38 years, helping in times of crisis and for simple re-keying needs.
His clientele began with people in Fredericksburg and Kerrville but he soon served Fredericksburg exclusively.
“It started out as more of a hobby, working locks and working with people,” he said. “It’s fun, it’s challenging and even sometimes aggravating.”
Milburn’s daily routine consists of going into the field, installing new locks, repairing locks or even opening cars or houses.
On average, he estimates that he unlocks about four cars per week, meaning he has unlocked nearly 8,000 cars in 38 years.
In addition to repairs and unlocking vehicles and homes, Milburn has spent time re-keying properties managed by real estate offices and property management groups. He also helped make copies of keys for bed and breakfasts.
“When a renter changes, the state law requires that the locks on the property must be changed within five days,” Milburn said. “There were many days I just spent making new keys, sometimes 50-80 at a time for one client.”
In 2019, Milburn said few are interested in the trade.
“We aren’t getting any new people who are interested in the trade and once us old people retire, it’s going to be harder to find a locksmith,” he said.
Milburn also said he no longer makes car keys because they require computers and technology that constantly requires updating.
Also, very few locksmithing schools exist.
According to a 2011 document from the Association of Locksmiths of America, only 34 programs exist, two of which are in Texas. Most training, it stated, is done online.
In addition to locks changing, licensing for locksmiths has also changed.
Locksmiths are now required have to have 17 hours of continuing education every two years, something Milburn finds very challenging without a home computer. Much of his equipment is also not updated.
At the conclusion of the month, Milburn will officially close his business, and all future locksmithing needs will have to be done in the surrounding areas such as Comfort, Kerrville, Center Point and Boerne.
“I think it is going to hurt the community not having a locksmith,” he said. “We have really enjoyed the ride. I just don’t think we can ride anymore.”
For last minute locksmithing needs, JJ & J Locksmith is
located at 983 Hollmig Lane.
For more information, call