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A Safe Business That's Thriving

While many small businesses are being squeezed during this economy, one outfit is actually seeing an uptick: Baumann Safe & Alarm Company in St. Louis, Missouri. “We have been fairly busy,” Christy Wilske, Baumann’s president told me. “Usually when times are bad and banks are bad people want safes at home to keep their money in.” Wilske, who is the great-great granddaughter of the firm’s founder John Baumann, a German immigrant who established the company in 1843 — originally as a hardware business that sold supplies and trunks to pioneers traveling across the Oregon Trail — said that she first noticed an increase in sales during the summer. “People started freaking out with the home mortgages. Now this past month the stock market has been tanking, and people are out buying safes.” As a result, Baumann’s business is up about 10% from last year. Moreover, Wilske’s noticed another buying trend: “more people are purchasing gun safes than normal,” she told me. With customers paying anywhere from $400 to $4000 for a safe, and the Dow hitting record lows, Baumann’s appears for many to be (pardon the pun) a safe investment.

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