Safety sought after attacks

By Tyler Vincent

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans have expressed increasing concerns about security in their businesses, government agencies and even in their homes.

In DeKalb, the repercussions of these new concerns are being felt at Wholesale Gate Company, 1811 Pleasant St.

The company, which specializes in designing steel-folding security gates to keep unwanted intruders from entering facilities and buildings, has had a significant increase in business among single and multi-family homes since the attacks.

“It was a couple of weeks [after Sept. 11] before we got calls,” said Tim Detwiler, president of Wholesale Gate Company. “They completely wiped out our inventory.”

While some of Detwiler’s previous business had come from residential homes, the majority of customers have been from schools, manufacturing plants, distribution centers and retail stores. Since that time, requests from residents filed at the company’s Web site,, have increased five to 10 percent.

The Wholesale Gate Company also has received phone calls from different government agencies across the country during the post-Sept. 11 terrorist concern.

“We got a call from a Coast Guard Station in the U.P. (the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and someone from the Pentagon called. He wanted gates for a building outside the Pentagon,” Detwiler said.

He added that the increase in production has led to a staff increase of 30 percent at the company.

Wholesale Gates specializes in making door gates, high single gates and portable gates. Many of these gates are used by businesses on their windows when their store isn’t open.

“My opinion is that there is a heightened sense of security in the country now,” Detwiler said. “These things won’t stop airplanes from flying into the World Trade Center, but they will give a sense of security.”

Sales at area gun shops also have increased to a lesser extent.

Dave Munch, a sales employee at Carter’s Gun Shop Inc. in Shabbona, said sales at his store, which specializes in guns for hunting purposes, have slightly gone up among guns for home safety purposes.

“This is a busy time for us anyhow with hunting season,” Munch said. “There has been maybe a 10 percent increase in sales to people who are concerned with home safety. We’re not a big handgun store. You see some numbers that handgun sales are up 50 percent. I would dispute some of those figures.”

The figures that Munch alluded to were the subject of an Oct. 2 ABC News story. The story dealt with Americans stocking up on pistols, ammunition and military food rations. The article indicates that an increase in sales has mainly been felt on the east coast. But in California, handgun sales have increased 50 percent.

Jerry Cultter, the owner of the Sportsmen’s Den in Rockford, indicated that there has been a 10 percent increase in inquiries into handguns, but added that he does not push his store primarily as a handgun store.

“I’m not in a good location,” Cultter said. “I was getting undesirable people inquiring about handguns, so I don’t push my store like that.”