ABOUT OUR COMPANY
Sikes Radio Company started officially on January 2, 1945, at 120 Montague Avenue in North Charleston. Our founder, E. Linwood Sikes, had been in general radio repair as a sideline for several years. He had resigned from Eastern Air Lines Communications after having spent thirteen years as a Technician and Radio Operator.
There were no commercial two-way radios in the area at this time except for ship-to-shore marine radios, and the business consisted of selling and repairing all kinds of consumer products such as radios, record players, ranges, refrigerators and some projectors. We installed the first two-way radios in the area for Yellow Cab Company in December of 1945 and for Safety Cab in 1950. At this time we discovered that more than 50% of our business was coming from the city of Charleston, so in October of 1950 the business was moved to 274 Meeting Street where it continued for twenty years.
The Dorchester Road shop was opened as a second facility the day after Labor Day in 1967, because by this time our Commercial and Military two-way radio work had increased considerably and the great majority of our business was in the North Area. In early 1970 the Meeting Street shop was closed and everything was moved to Dorchester Road where our two-way work continued to increase.
All work on consumer products was discontinued in September of 1973 when we went all out on two-way radio and commercial Closed Circuit TV as well as other security work. On January 1, 1978, the business was sold to John Sikes, son of the founder.
In September of 1980 a satellite shop was opened in Beaufort, SC, to provide service to radio users in the area. Two of our technicians were moved to Beaufort to run that facility. In December of 1981 that shop was closed at Motorola's request.
A major breakthrough in communications for the Charleston area was made in 1982 when Motorola installed a state-of-the-art trunked 800 megahertz radio system on their five hundred foot tower at Cainhoy. This radio system was capable of providing simultaneous two-way radio conversations between customers' units as well as private conversations and telephone calls.
In 1985, a major addition was made to the building on Dorchester Road, adding some 3000 square feet including additional service facilities as well as sales rooms for Motorola's representatives. Landscaping and paving of the parking area provided a facelift for the facility.
A Grand Opening to dedicate the facility and to celebrate the Fortieth Anniversary of our business was held in September of 1985. Those who participated in the open house included more than 500 customers including many Motorola employees from Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte and Columbia.
In December of 1986 we opened a satellite service facility in Georgetown to provide service to a number of customers for whom we were already doing work, as well as others who had been asking us to do work for them. Two technicians were assigned to the Georgetown installation.
In the latter part of 1988, Motorola added two more trunked 800 megahertz radio systems in the Charleston area, providing a broader base to serve customers' communications needs.
The onslaught of Hurricane Hugo in September of 1989 was devastating to the Lowcountry, including the Charleston and Georgetown communities. A number of towers were down and customers were without communications as a result of the high winds. Motorola provided some 300 trunked radios for use by Charleston County Emergency Operations Center personnel. Many of our employees and Motorola personnel worked almost 'round the clock to restore the area's communications in an orderly manner. Due to the amount of devastation, it took several months to totally complete the task. Our efforts drew acclaim from several trade magazines as well as a video prepared by Motorola.
October of 1990 began a new phase of operation in the Company with sales of the Radius product as well as Cellular phones in Charleston and Georgetown. About a year later, Motorola's changes in marketing strategy enabled us to begin selling the entire product line of two-way radios. This was a challenge since the Company had been service oriented for more than forty-five years. The sales force continued to function until August of 1993, at which time the Company formed a handshake agreement with Carolina Communications to take over all sales, leaving our employees available to provide quality service as in the past. Since that time, we have worked with other companies who have provided sales for us.
Closing of the Charleston Naval Base and Naval Shipyard in the mid-1990's prompted downsizing of our company. While currently operating with fewer personnel, we continue to provide quality service to our customers.
A serious fire on Easter Sunday, 2000, slowed us down for a few days but did not stop us. Starting at two o'clock in the afternoon, smoke was observed and reported by a passing Charleston County Sheriff's Deputy. The blaze started in a second story wall and went upwards, spreading into the attic and damaging almost half the trusses in the roof. Fortunately, downstairs damage was limited to smoke and a limited amount of water in the office area, while upstairs was almost totally rebuilt including a new roof and exterior paint job. Not shut down by all the damage, our business was open Monday morning after the fire with power being supplied by generators. Normal power was restored to the building by Tuesday afternoon. This is a good example of how well our employees work with each other.
Expansion into the emergency call box area allowed us to offer an additional service to our customers. Wireless call boxes provide security for workers in remote parking lots, garages and in other areas at customers' facilities. For more information on emergency call boxes, click here.
Another area in which we are able to help customers concerns GPS vehicle location. Systems may be either active or passive. Active systems allow the user to have real-time access to vehicle location, speed, direction of travel and other critical information that may be useful. Many types of reports are available as required. Passive systems store this information and download it to a central unit periodically in order that reports may be run. For a more detailed discussion of the types of systems and how they might help your company, click here.
We continue to look for areas in which we can provide services to our customer base. If your company has a need related to communications, please feel free to ask us about it.
Questions? Ask us.
Last updated: December 31, 2006