Anyone who thinks the life of a locksmith is boring should think again, said Dave Sorci, who has owned Reed’s Locksmithing in Grass Valley since 1996.
“Every day is different. Each lock is like a puzzle. Every call is an adventure,” he said. “At the same time, after 30 years in the business, to pick a lock is like breathing — it only takes me about 10 to 15 seconds.”
It’s a good thing Sorci uses his bonded-and-licensed powers for the benefit of humanity, as he has installed, replaced and fixed thousands of locks all over Nevada County, including entire schools, the hospital, PG&E, fire stations, city government and law enforcement buildings — even Ananda Village.
“Through my job, I see how the town breathes,” he said.
When there’s a large-scale pot bust on the ridge, whom do the Sheriff’s deputies call while the perpetrator is still on site and in handcuffs? The locksmith.
“There are always safes involved during busts, and the owner always seems to forget the combination,” said Sorci, with a smile. “I recently had to open a whole wall of safes full of marijuana, guns and illegal bookkeeping materials.”
Evictions? Divorces? Job termination? Foreclosures? Sorci is there, changing the locks. But then there are the happy stories.
“One of my customers bought a house and discovered a safe underneath,” he said. “It turned out to have stacks of Japanese money inside, along with World War II memorabilia.”
Reed’s Locksmithing is a 75-year-old business, said Sorci, who bought it from Howard Reed 16 years ago. In the 1990s, Sorci had his own locksmithing business in San Jose when a friend asked him to help build a house in Grass Valley.
“My first question was, ‘Where’s Grass Valley?’” he said. “Through my friend, I got to know Howard, and he eventually asked if I was interested in relocating and buying the business. Our kids were grown, and my wife said, ‘When do I pack?’”
Sorci’s wife, Colleen, is the bookkeeper and “pretty much my boss, bless her heart,” chuckled Sorci.
In addition to locksmith Bart Luvisi, who assists Sorci with his mobile van service out in the field when he’s spread too thin, David “Jake” Jacobs helps out at the Joerschke Drive store, tending to customers and overseeing inventory, as he has done for the past nine years.
“I couldn’t do anything without Jake,” said Sorci. “He’s the best thing since peanut butter.”
Clever zingers routinely fly through the shop among coworkers and longtime customers, who often who end up staying to chat. A rusty spray can labeled, “Smart Ass Repellent” sits on Sorci’s tool-laden desk.
“It’s not fair,” joked Jacobs. “I’m the only non-Italian on the premises.”
In addition to opening safes (with proper identification), cars, copying keys, fixing locks and ignitions that are broken or opening locks with lost keys, Reed’s Locksmithing carries all things having to do with locks, such as lubricants, padlocks and safes, both new and refurbished. They are dealers for Schlage, Kwikset, American Security Products and, by special order, other major brands.
“I get tremendous satisfaction knowing I helped someone who comes to me in a panic mode, and I tell them their problem is not that big,” said Sorci. “The best part of my job is making people happy — making little miracles a little bit at a time. People lose a lot of keys.”
To contact staff writer Cory Fisher email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4203.