Locksmith tackles the daily grind

Ron Runyan, owner of Ron´s Campus Locksmith, stands in front of a wall of blank keys at his shop. Runyan recalls that the wall used to be twice as long, but many key lines have been phased out in the last 40 years of business. Online Poster

Ron Runyan, owner of Ron´s Campus Locksmith, stands in front of a wall of blank keys at his shop. Runyan recalls that the wall used to be twice as long, but many key lines have been phased out in the last 40 years of business. Online Poster

By Kate Gleason

A walk through Ron’s Campus Locksmith is like a blast from the past, a shop seemingly out of the early days when life was simpler and “superstores” did not exist.

When Ron Runyan opened his store on the corner of Fifth and John in 1962, he said Campustown was completely different and that Green Street was always busy with shoppers.

“It was just like student week all the time,” Runyan said. “There were kids here, spending their money… it used to be a goldmine.”

Runyan said he originally planned for his shop to be only a locksmith shop, but he soon decided to expand, since there was no hardware store on campus. It also carries a variety of electrical appliances, batteries and tools.

The store is family-run. Runyan said he does most of the service work, while his wife, Barbara, handles the bookwork. His two daughters, Lisa and Laurie, help out around the store and his grandson Zachary does, too.

Lisa, who works primarily at the counter at the front of the store and deals with customers, said there is no such thing as a typical day in the store.

“There really is never a dull moment,” she said. “We usually handle about five service calls a day, five lockouts a day and I’d say we make around 300 keys a day.”

The shop’s most noticeable fixture is a back wall that houses keys of assorted colors, shapes and sizes.

According to Runyan, business these days is “up and down.”

“We have a good steady commercial business,” he said. “Of course, years ago, when we didn’t have any competition, it was better.”

Rachel Anne Dion, graduate student in LAS, came to the store in search of a magnet for a cabinet she owned.

She said she likes to shop at Ron’s because she likes supporting small businesses.

“I think it’s great to have a small, personally-owned business on campus,” she said. “It’s obviously not a clone of a lot of other stores, and they pretty much have it all.”

Runyan said he has no plans to retire anytime soon. At the age of sixty-two, he said he plans to stay at least three more years.

“I think you have to stay busy,” he said. “If you don’t, you’ll sit around and die.”