Think About Adding Attractive In-Store Security

Fortress builds attractive cabinets designed to survive anything a thief can throw at them.

Think About Adding Attractive In-Store Security

Protecting your inventory and safeguarding your staff are of critical importance. The latter requires thorough safety training and protocols. The former requires Fortress Displays.

Hoffman Manufacturing Corp., which just celebrated its 26th anniversary, launched its high-security display segment about 10 years ago and has made a name for itself in the industry over the past decade. 

Shooting Sports Retailer recently caught up with Erik Gennerman, director of Fortress Display, to talk about the company’s rise, store security and building cabinets that can survive a sledge hammer.

SSR: Hoffman Manufacturing was building store fixtures long before Fortress high-security displays came about. How did you get into this part of the market?

Gennerman: We were challenged by a major regional outdoor sporting goods retailer to develop a display that could protect merchandise for three minutes from an onslaught of sledgehammer, crowbar, hatchet and gunfire assault. They had suffered a rash of “smash-and-grab” losses. The display met the three-minute objective and the effort to penetrate the display ended after fifteen unsuccessful minutes. Hoffman High Security Displays (now known as Fortress Displays) were installed in every store and though there were “smash-and-grab” attempts even after refixturing the chain, there were no successful display penetrations. The rest, as they say, is history.

SSR: What sort of businesses do you typically serve? 

Gennerman: Our primary business is firearm retailers. We also serve pawnbrokers, museums, law enforcement, schools and various other businesses/institutions that value a ‘best-in-class’ looking display that also offers an unmatched loss prevention design. In short, if high-value merchandise needs an aesthetically pleasing, functional and secure display, Fortress Display should be considered. 

SSR: Did the surge in firearms sales over the past few years impact your business? 

Gennerman: Yes, from small mom-and-pop stores to large chain retail the increase in sales and the unfortunate accompanying rise in theft, including smash-and-grabs, has put Fortress Display in the forefront as part of a whole-store secure solution.

SSR: Do you do all your manufacturing in-house or do you rely on outside vendors for certain aspects?

Gennerman: We use U.S.-produced steel, glass and polycarbonate. All fabrication is done in our facility in Madison, Wisconsin. While we outsource electrical components and hardware, we  subcontract nothing. We are truly integrated across a broad range of internal capabilities, from design/engineering to CNC and laser cutting, welding, powder coating, and fabrication. We are proudly made in the USA. 

SSR: Can you talk a bit about the build and construction of Fortress cabinets? 

Gennerman: Display cabinets have to look fantastic. And the product within them has to look fantastic. Our customers rely on Fortress Displays to showcase and safeguard their products.  Highest quality materials and fabrication and bright LED lighting are key. We know that if our displays don’t display product in its best light, customers will care less as to how they perform in an attempted robbery. Let’s focus on loss prevention. Innovative design and engineering, 11-gauge cold-rolled steel and impact- and shatter-resistant polycarbonate combined with a flush-mounted lock, steel bypass doors with interlocking edges and reverse flanging and a fully welded frame … all coming together in a beautiful display that provides next-level protection.

SSR: Do you think of design more in terms of security first, or do you design an attractive display and then figure out how to armor it?

Gennerman: The design starts with a concept of security. From there it has to be designed in a way that any retailer would feel the display itself adds to the look of their business and showcases their products.  

SSR: What sorts of threats or attacks are your fixtures designed to survive?

Gennerman: Our customers have provided us ‘break-in’ videos showing everything from hammers, crow bars, kicks, screw drivers, concrete blocks and more.  We fully acknowledge that nothing is 100% break-in proof.  We also strongly argue that our product is one of several “arrows in the quiver,” that should be used for optimal loss-prevention, e.g. alarms, cameras, physical barriers, etc. A comprehensive approach to loss prevention, of which we are a key part, will offer a level of security that exceeds the need.

SSR: Do you offer stock sizes and styles, or is it more custom orders?

Gennerman: The design and engineering element creates limitations on design changes. Our counter displays are 4 feet long, 22 inches deep, and 44 Inches tall. We do have an ADA-height display as well. Displays are powder-coated black and have a white interior that shows product very well. We also offer some long-gun “backwall” display options and have several sizes of customer service counters, corners and fillers.    

SSR: What do you say to the retailer who’s hesitant to invest in more secure store fixtures?

Gennerman: I was once told the price of the solution is proportional to the cost/risk of the problem. That makes sense to me. Our displays are an investment in several ways:

1. They look fantastic. Best looking displays you will find.

2. The lighting and design work well to display product. Strong display of product equals strong sale of product.  

3. They provide a level of security that is needed more now than ever.  

4. For those still so inclined, they eliminate the need to remove inventory for overnight “safe” storage only to have to remerchandise the next day. That’s a lot of labor and potential damage to merchandise. Our displays work 24/7.

It absolutely is an investment. Business owners who look at the complete value of what we offer make the decision that it is a price worth paying to sell more products while providing unmatched security.

SSR: How does a retailer start working with you when they’re ready to upgrade their retail space? What services consulting or design services do you provide?

Gennerman: I recommend all potential customers go to our website:

Look at Customer Photos to get an idea of how the displays will show your product and look in your store. From there either request a quote or give me a call at 608-333-0942. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss your store and our products. If there is a good fit, fantastic!

SSR: What else do you want retailers to know about your company?

Gennerman: Our owner is a true “car guy.”  That means fit and finish is the focus of all he does.  One look at one of our displays and that’ll be readily apparent.  


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