Meet the Dreamer: Bobby Richardson, Black Bear Lock & Security

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Bobby Richardson of Black Bear Lock & Security took the pandemic as an opportunity to make a career change. Now, he operates a successful business with Jackson County as his home base.

A Pandemic Pivot

Before 2020, Bobby Richardson taught with a local marching band. As the world shifted, so did his desire to start something new – to pursue the entrepreneurial drive within him. “This is what I was meant to do. When I was a little kid, I had my own little convenience store and tried to sell my own toys to everybody in the house,” he laughed. “It’s in my blood.”

He and his business partner started Black Bear Lock & Security. After a couple of years of feeling like they weren’t maximizing their growth, they realized, “We needed money to help us get to the next level.”

That’s when he connected with Mountain BizWorks. “We started our business in June of 2020 and found Mountain BizWorks through Google,” he shared. When he met with our lenders, they shared that his business documentation wasn’t in the best format to show that value and profitability. “And we asked, ‘Well, what can we do to fix that.’ And they said, ‘Well, we have these classes…I immediately signed up for every single class I could take.” 

Those courses included Foundations, Financial Series, Marketing & Branding 101, Craft Your Commerce courses, Procurement & Contracting, and was a member of the 4th Catalyst Cohort

“I thought the Catalyst Cohort was an amazing experience,” Bobby said. The year-long cohort experience allows entrepreneurs to grow together through monthly learning and opportunities for connection and accountability. Bobby shared that it was that relationship building with folks on the same entrepreneurial path that really added value for him. Connecting with “people that are literally doing the same thing that I’m doing – trying to make their their livelihood and work for themselves gave me the motivation and the confidence that I can do this too,” he said. “It actually challenged me to make my business better because we heard other people having all these successes and I was like, ‘Hey, I want to be like them.’”

Since then, he’s further dialed in his own business needs through business coaching and received a loan through the Catalyst Fund to grow. 

Adjusting for His Audience

Since his early Mountain BizWorks class days, Bobby has continued to learn within his own work. For example, he learned that sometimes growth is about adjusting for himself and his audience. “Ultimately I have been dialing it in and being more specific. I was offering services that I thought that our community needed. But it’s not what they wanted,” he said. There is also pursuing that in balance with what he wants for his life and business. 

“I started out fully locksmithing,” he said. But if you’ve ever been locked out of your home, you know those are often emergency services – and come with a great deal of anxiety for the property owner and work uncertainty for the locksmith themselves. Now he’s moved into security solutions for residential and commercial properties, incorporating access control video surveillance and alarm monitoring. This more preventative solution works for both Bobby and his customers, giving them a “comprehensive security solution that allows them to stay informed and in control of their property.”

He and his partner also continue to innovate based on their personal life, recently coming up with solutions for an elderly family member. The security measures they implemented kept her in her home longer. This gave him and his husband comfort – knowing they can check in frequently and that she can reach them if needed. This system may be something he develops further seeing the community needs it would address. 

Measuring Success in New Ways

When asked about what success means for him, Bobby shared, “That’s funny. I used to think that success was a dollar number and it’s no longer that. I had to redefine what success looks like for me.” That new measurement is more about providing a service to his customers and community that is reliable, beneficial, and fits his business goals.

One goal he’s working toward is hiring more people – to build a team for Black Bear Lock & Security. He’s doing this slowly and deliberately, pulling in the knowledge he gained from his financial classes, among others. “That’s one of my fears,” he said. “What if I don’t have the revenue stream to support my employees?” His innovative spirit is leading him to explore additional revenue streams that individuals and businesses need to then be able to hire – creating career opportunities for others. 

Giving Back

Until then, he’s now sharing his knowledge with other entrepreneurs as a Mountain BizWorks coach and facilitator of the latest Catalyst Cohort, encouraging his fellow entrepreneurs. “I have a support system that’s created through Mountain BizWorks. It’s more than just, ‘Hey, here’s this class. Here’s this money,’” he said. “It’s about ‘Hey, what can we do for you and be able to create a community within entrepreneurship?’”

To learn more about Black Bear Lock & Security, visit

Photo by Oscar Molina – Molina Vision Media


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