From his earliest recollections Chris Bird was always interested in business, commerce and sales-from operating drink stands by the neighborhood tennis court to advertising his lawn mowing business on white match book cases with a rubber stamp with his contact information. In college, Chris even started 1520 Enterprises Unlimited to loan money to friends who were short on funds pending payday or mom and dad’s deposit. Although unincorporated and unlicensed that business was very similar to today’s payday and title loan businesses.
After college, at this grandfather’s urging, Chris studied for and passed the life insurance licensing exam. With the desire to be his own boss driving him, he left that business and started a series of businesses-Microcomputer Consulting Associates, consulting and custom software design; Lido Development, LLC-buying, improving, developing and selling real property and Spec-Tech architectural consulting. (Notable local projects included Peabody Place, Target House and FedExForum)
In 1999, Chris was asked to consider purchasing Delta Door and Hardware Co. by its owners and spent a year inside the company working towards that goal. In 2000, at a meeting of Memphis Rotary, John Dillard told Chris he wanted to retire. Chris formed an agreement with John Dillard, Jr that he would form a new corporation that in two years would purchase the assets of the existing Dillard Door & Specialty Co. Chris took $75K in savings and a personal note from JD to capitalize the new corporation Dillard Door & Security, Inc. At the time of purchase, the company had 12 employees and was doing about 2 million in revenue. In 5 years the company had grown to about 50 employees and 6 million in revenue. In 2008, the security portion of the business had become large enough that they started a separate company Dillard Security Services, LLC to better handle the needs of the security business.
While the recession years took its toll on new construction related businesses, the security and service sector of our business continued to thrive and produce more than 8mil in revenue and both are climbing.
In 2013, due to the increased amount of business done with law enforcement entities, a Federal Firearms License was procured to offer firearms, as well as other security services, to law enforcement contacts. DSS Firearms, LLC is now almost a stand-alone business.
In 2018, Dillard Door acquired Tri-State Glass, a 60 year old, family owned business that had a large portion of its revenue from Dillard. This is coming full circle because when John Dillard, Sr. started his business in 1947 it was called Southern Glass and evolved from just glass to what Dillard Door & Security, Inc. is today.
Chris Bird is actively involved in various church and community organizations including the Memphis Rotary Club Board, Regional One Health Foundation Board of Directors, Calvary Episcopal Church Vestry, Door and Hardware Institute, the Construction Specifications Institute, Morrison Architectural Scholarship Fund at UofM, Memphis Heritage Board, NFIB State Leadership Council and Crime Stoppers.
Installer and servicer of commercial doors and electronic security equipment
“Entrepreneurs – Born or Made? Some things can be taught but drive and perseverance are innate. Ask an artist “why do paint?” and he will reply “because I have to”.
The value of hard work. As opposed to formal education where you pay to learn, work pays you to learn.”
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