Updated: Nov 9, 2021
You might say Chamber member Clem Gottsacker has found the key to success. For more than 25 years, Clem has been the proprietor of Clem’s Locksmith, a niche business servicing Ozaukee, Sheboygan, and Washington Counties as well as the Milwaukee Northshore.
It all started back in 1985. Clem was a machinist who took a correspondence locksmith course out of Missouri for no reason other than a genuine interest in the skill. For seven years he practiced his trade as a hobby, until one summer when the Port Washington Marina Harbormaster asked him to cut some keys. After cutting more than 800 keys for him that summer, and even more in subsequent summers, he realized there might be something more to this hobby of his.
He did no marketing to further his business. “The Lord knew it was on my heart to do this, and made it happen,” Clem explains, grinning. “It kept getting bigger and bigger.” His clientele grew to include churches, businesses, houses, and soon he became a lockout vendor for AAA.
Through the years, he’s had to do his homework to keep up with technology, particularly with automotive locks. He travels to Kentucky every other year to learn about the latest locksmithing techniques and has purchased additional equipment to accommodate various car companies’ key styles. He pointed out that if someone loses one set of their car keys, it’s much less expensive to have the remaining key duplicated than to chance losing both sets and having to get brand new keys cut.
He’s had his share of interesting experiences over the years- plenty of customers in their pajamas, and even a driver for the Green Bay Packers who locked himself out of his car when he stopped on an on-ramp to relieve himself.
When not at work, Clem spends time with his wife of 29 years, Joan. They have two grown sons. Clem also spends his time serving the Village of Belgium in multiple ways. He has served on the Village Board for 15 years and was just elected for another two-year term as Village Trustee this month.
He’s been a part of the Belgium Area Chamber of Commerce for nearly 20 years. He likes being a part of the Chamber for the camaraderie with other business owners. He enjoys giving and receiving ideas to better each other’s businesses, and credits fellow business owner Jay Lauer with the idea to approach Drew’s True Value to provide next day service for house lock rekeying- a service he’s now provided Drew’s for 18 years.
Clem appreciates the variety of his job, and says he feels healthier now that he is able to get out into the fresh air with his work. “I love what I do,” he says. “As they say, if you’re doing the job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Anyone looking for Clem’s help can contact him at 262-483-0172, or visit www.clemslocksmithservice.com.