The Thrifty King grocery store chain brought all of its stores onto a common intrusion alarm platform to make it easier for the owner and store managers to monitor and manage this physical security aspect, either at the store level or remotely. The family-owned Thrifty King grocery store chain, with two stores in Kansas and a third in Colorado, has relied on its security systems integrator, Alert Alarm Co. of Moscow, KS, for access control, video, and intrusion system solutions. Bringing all the stores, two of which also operate separate liquor stores, onto a common intrusion alarm platform was considered in order to provide the owners and managers more control over facility security.
For a busy retailer like Thrifty King, it was important to the find and install an intrusion system that would cause minimal disruption to buildings themselves and to the day-to-day operations. The company’s Hugoton, KS location was new construction built in early 2015, while the Dodge City and Lamar, CO sites had undergone major remodels within recent years.
By seeking a wireless intrusion solution, Alert Alarm could more easily customize the system to fit the configuration of each store, such as covering the front doors as well as overhead doors in the loading area, and do so without having to pull wires, which would add to the cost, labor, and time involved in the project.
The owners of Thrifty King also wanted the ability to gather information from and actively monitor their intrusion system as needed, rather than having to wait to receive calls from an alarm monitoring company or police if there was a problem. It was also important for every store to have the same intrusion alarm system, as store managers are often cross-trained to cover other store locations.
Instrusion System Without Wires
Working with Alert Alarm, Thrifty King chose Johnson Controls (formerly Tyco Security Products) DSC PowerSeries Neo, a flexible modular hybrid system that captures the reliability of a hard-wired system and pairs it with advanced PowerG two-way wireless communication devices to fit the needs of the end user. PowerSeries Neo with PowerG Technology provided the store with the ability to: monitor a facility with more than 30,000 square feet of space; and reliably transmit alarm signals, even though every store contained building support pillars, food shelves, refrigerators, and freezers located in between.
“It was the wireless range that sold them on the project,” said Curtis Crawford, security specialist at Alert Alarm. Crawford installed a series of keypads, door sensors and motion detectors at each site, based on the needs of the specific location.
The Dodge City store, for instance, was equipped with two keypads, five door sensors and various motion detectors, while the Lamar site needed a single keypad and four door sensors, along with various motion detectors. At the newest site in Hugoton, which was armed with keypads, door and motion sensors, also featured the addition of window sensor for the monitoring of the adjacent liquor store.
Even though some of the door sensors were hundreds of feet from the keypad, with building support pillars, food shelves, refrigerators and freezers located in between, there wasn’t a need for repeaters, although these could be easily added to the system if signal strength became a problem because of walls or other structural features within the building.
The Dodge City location is a prime example of the range of the system, with a 30,000 square-foot store and an estimated 300-foot distance between the keypad transmitter at the front of the store and other wireless devices located at the back of the store.
Using PowerG-enabled wireless sensors allowed Crawford and store owner, Justin Carter, to place them were needed, such as on the tracks for overhead doors, without the need for wiring. Adding sensors, such as the ones being considered to track freezer temperatures, is designed to be easy within the PowerSeries Neo platform. And the long battery life within the peripherals reduces calls to Alert Alarm for system maintenance.
With adaptive transmission path capabilities, PowerSeries Neo can adjust as the retail environment changes. For example, if Thrifty King sets up a merchandise display in the front of the store, the system will automatically detect if an object is interfering with the transmission path and will transmit a louder signal from sensors to the panel to compensate for the change. When the store removes the merchandise display, the system will return to normal transmission levels, thereby saving on battery usage.
Another part of the solution that was important to Carter and his management team was the integration of PowerSeries Neo with Alarm.com, an online management tool. Carter can check the armed status of his stores and the separately configured liquor stores, giving him the ability to arm and disarm the liquor store doors without impacting the grocery stores. The partitioning feature on the Neo panels allows Thrifty King to create this dual configuration, basically building two systems on the same hardware. This approach was used at Thrifty King’s other locations in Dodge City, CO and Hugoton, KS.
“PowerSeries Neo is the only reliable panel on the market today that supports multiple partitions,” said Crawford. “That was another reason why we went with PowerSeries Neo.” The PowerSeries Neo system with its Alarm.com feature, said Carter, allows him to “manage so many parts and pieces from a distance” while giving him “the peace of mind that everything is set and you can check on it when you want to.”
Scalable Solution For Security Alarms
In the future, Thrifty King can add more sensors to the system to monitor and protect certain areas should they have an issue with employee theft or shoplifting. This can include adding sensors to a storage room or an area where expensive merchandise is located, such as a high priced liquor aisle, so that the store manager receives a notification every time a person enters a specific area.
PowerSeries Neo also provides Thrifty King with the capability to integrate with people tracking and a foot flow monitoring system at a later time. The system would notify the store manager about high foot traffic areas and if there are too many people congregating in a certain area of a store.