“From the outside, we may seem like a small business from humble beginnings. But by the end of this page, you'll see that we have big ambitions.”
Welcome to our website, and thank you for your interest in our company. We see you as more than a customer or potential customer; we want to invite you into a partnership with us. But we know that in order to earn your trust, you have to know who we are. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in. Because you are about to witness the greatest and most comprehensive “About Us” page on the internet.
If you caught a glimpse of the massive wall of content below and thought to yourself, “Wow, I don’t have time to read all that!” we get it. But we hope this helps you see that we take great pride in our business and our vision. If you do plan on reading, be prepared for pure security greatness! From the outside, we may seem like a small business from humble beginnings. But by the end of this page, you'll see that we have big ambitions.
My name is Sean Nelson, founder of Nelly’s Security. In order to understand where we are and where we're going, you first must understand where we've been. So let me tell you a little bit about the company that I started, our progression through the years, and our bold mission going forward.
Our Story and Future Vision
We started small, working back-to-back in cramped quarters in a glorified garage. But our commitment to excellence and our drive to be the best quickly put us on a trajectory toward something much bigger.
2020 & Beyond
The Good Ol’ Days: 2008–2012
In 2008, I quit my job as a lumber salesman and decided to do something I always wanted to do: become an entrepreneur. So I followed my dreams and began Nelly’s Surplus. I was paying $400 per month for a small warehouse in Claremore, Oklahoma. As you can see in the pictures below, this was essentially a glorified garage with a small office.
Most of our location consisted of the warehouse. Ryan and I sat back-to-back from each other in what little office space we were alotted. The above snapshot of our office was taken with a 700 TVL Analog Camera, which was considered high end at the time!
Nelly’s Surplus was focused on buying liquidations, closeouts, customer returns, and used store equipment from places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. It was actually through my contacts with Walmart’s liquidation team that my journey in security sales began. At the time, Walmart was remodeling stores like crazy, and every time they did, they would take every single security camera down and send them to auction. This is when I would buy them by the watermelon box.
At times, we had so much supply that we could barely keep up. We would clean the cameras, test them, and then sell them on eBay (back when eBay was still cool). We learned everything we know through Google and discussion forums. I jokingly tell people that I have a PhD in Google.
Right around 2010 was when our steady supply of used cameras began to dwindle. By this time, we had developed a very loyal customer base selling security equipment, and I found I enjoyed working with the technology and investing in the industry. I quickly began sourcing new equipment from various suppliers so I could continue selling security equipment. We realized our focus was shifting, so we zoned in even more on security sales. We dropped the “surplus” from our company name and Nelly’s Security was born.
In 2012, I began renting out a warehouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had so much more room to grow in this new location. There were individual offices, a large warehouse, and even a separate showroom. So much better than the previous garage. Here are a few pics of our second location:
I quickly learned that I had allocated way too much space for the showroom in our location design. We had plenty of room to grow, but we grew fast. And, needless to say, we soon ran out of warehouse space.
Our original plan was to serve the DIY customers both in the Tulsa area with this location and also around the world via our e-commerce efforts. While those plans did work out quite well, one thing we didn’t expect was that our services began to appeal more and more to professional security installer customers. While we were very small compared to other security distributors across the nation, our relentless pursuit for customer service propelled us forward. We gained a very loyal dealer customer base. So our focus began to shift once again. While we continued to provide the best support possible to our DIY customers, we also began to intentionally focus our efforts on developing programs and strategies to better serve our growing base of professional installer customers.
The Foundation Years and the Spark of a Large Vision: 2015–2019
We quickly ran out of space in the first Tulsa location and moved a few miles down the road to our next building, effectively tripling our space in size. We spent nearly five years growing in this new space. I call these "the foundation years" because this is when we began to settle down and figure out exactly who we were and where we wanted to take the company.
Toward the beginning of 2015, our growth skyrocketed. We almost tripled our revenue in one year. While the last three years have been more stable, our mindset and culture has grown and developed. We focused on boosting our Nelly’s Branding Program, a unique program in which we brand our products with our dealer customer’s logos and model numbers. The branding program has added great value to our professional installation customer base, as it allows them to tighten and boost their own brand.
We also completely redesigned our website, bringing our online presence up-to-date to match our growing understanding of our vision. We also introduced customer-centric value services, such as our 60 Day Hassle Free Return Policy and free shipping on all orders, big or small.
As a fun acknowledgment to our past, we brought back NellysSurplus.com. This site is focused on selling our used customer returns along with closeouts and overstock items at huge discounts.
Of course, our extreme focus on customer service continued during this time and continues still to this day. As a matter of fact, If you asked me what was our biggest factor in growth over the years, I would have to say it’s our customer service and high customer retention rate.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had big plans for Nelly’s. But my plan and vision was always somewhat fuzzy. I never really implemented specific goals and action plans to reach new heights in our business. Starting at about mid-2018, I decided to make my opaque vision more solid. I began implementing small steps to reach our ultimate goal, which brings us to the present time.
Toward the end of our five year tenure at the third location, we became very focused on taking small steps to reach our ultimate goal. These steps caused us to grow so much that it was getting a bit cramped. We added more product lines to our security equipment catalog, such as the economical R-Series and feature-packed Uniview products. We were getting so much stock that we didn't know where to put it. Our team was growing, too. And with more and more employees coming aboard, we were starting to run out of offices.
So, at the beginning of 2020, we packed up and moved a few miles east to our current location, which we affectionately call Nelly's 4.0. Our warehouse is big enough for all of our stock, with even more room for future products. We ditched the single office setup and opted for an open space, making everything look much cleaner and more modern. Our new building really is a reflection of who we have become as a company. In the years to come, as we continue reaching for our goals, we expect this space to see us through much more growth, physically and professionally.
What goal is that, you ask? Well, Nelly’s ultimate goal is simple: “To be the Largest and Most well-known Security Distributor on Earth.” I know this sounds somewhat cheezy and generalized, but it’s the truth. This ultimate goal is what drives all of our decisions and micro goals here at Nelly’s. Needless to say, we have a long way to go. There are some mammoth companies that we have to surpass to get there. But by doing some things differently than what these mammoth companies (and most other companies) are doing, I believe we will get to that number one spot.
How do we get there? I’m glad you asked. Honestly, I don’t yet have all the answers. But I have identified a few areas in which I think most of the industry is lacking. To explain these, I would like to transition this incredibly long "About Us" page to the next section.
We have big goals at Nelly’s Security. In order to achieve these goals, we have to have to be different from everyone else. We can’t just think outside the watermelon box; we have to get rid of the box completely. Here are just a few of the ways we separate ourselves from pack.
Extreme Customer Service
Without extreme customer service, we won’t be able to get where we want to go. Nor would we have gotten to where we are now. Frankly speaking, the security industry as a whole has terrible customer service. Whether it’s due to service reps that don’t know anything about their products or imprisoning and ridiculous warranty and return policies, it makes for a very frustrating customer experience.
I firmly believe we have the best customer service reps in the industry, no question about it. We have a small crew here. But I like to hire Rock Star team members that can do the same amount of work as 10 average workers. The person that answers the phone here at Nelly’s can help you speck out a system and take your order. That same person can also help you through any technical support challenge you may have. This makes for a very cohesive customer service experience, and the customer can rest assured knowing they are getting a system compiled by someone who actually knows what they are doing. More than that, they know they can always call back and speak to the same person for any technical assistance.
Have you seen some of these warranty and return policies from other companies? It’s like if you breathe on the product box, they will charge you a 25% restock fee. That’s crazy! We believe that if you don’t like the product, you shouldn’t be forced into keeping it or charged with a restocking fee. This is why we have a 60 day hassle free return policy, which means you can return any product, new or used, with the original packaging or without, for a full refund within 60 days of purchase.
Have you ever dealt with annoyingly long warranty wait times? Not here. Our policy is to repair or exchange defective products within one business day of receiving them. If you are a professional installer, we will even ship you a free advanced replacement the day you call us to report a bad product.
An Efficient Shopping Experience
I’m amazed that there are still professional security distributors who haven’t adapted to e-commerce or to the internet in general. It’s our goal to stay on the forefront of technology to make the smoothest and most efficient buying experience possible. Whatever shopping method is most convenient for you, we want to make that possible. Here's how we do it.
We offer free ground shipping on all orders big or small to the lower 48 states.
We normally ship out orders either the same day, or at maximum the next business day.
We offer many different payment options to make the process as quick and flexible as possible for you. (Credit card, cash on pickup for our local customers, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and Resolve payment terms)
Of course if you are one of those folks who like to call in and place orders, no problem. You can do that too.
Partnering With Our Customers
We cater to both DIY’er and Professional Installers, and we are grateful for both. However, we understand that the professional installer has a different and more complex set of needs. They don’t need just good products and great service, even though we offer that. The professional needs a partner in profit! If you are a professional installer, we don’t want to just be your supplier. We really want to help you boost your business and achieve your greatest goals.
This is why we created the Branding Program, which is our unique 100% free service in which we brand our products with your logo, your model numbers, and your decals, as if the product was manufactured just for you. We did this because we understand the importance of your business’s brand in the security industry. It’s a very cutthroat and competitive market, and customers will often google the products you are quoting them to find the same product for a lower price. Our Branding Program eliminates this price-matching issue, because when your customers google your model numbers, they will only find your business and your products. Our branding program gives you a much needed edge in this competitve market.
Again, this is a courtesy service that we offer our dealers. It’s 100% free of charge and there are no minimum order quantities. No other company in the world has such an extensive branding program like we do.
Nelly’s Core Values
We believe in creating a company culture based on what we call our Three Pillars of Success:
Every activity we do, we treat it like a sports player treats the Super Bowl or World Series, we give everything we got and leave everything on the field.
Our motto at Nelly’s Security is this: Always Move Forward. Our team is committed to always putting forth as much effort as is necessary to continue moving forward at all costs.
Not only do we believe that anything worth doing is worth doing right. We like to take it a step further. Anything worth doing is worth being the best at.
Since this is our ultimate goal at Nelly’s, we only hire people who share this pursuit, this obsession, with sheer excellence.
It all boils down to the Golden Rule. Treat others like you want to be treated. We work really hard here at Nelly’s, but we have a great time doing it.
I’ve made it a requirement that in order to work here, you have to love your job. Because if we don’t love what we do, we can’t put our hearts into serving our valued customers.
Follow Us On Social Media
If you are interested in following our quest to be the #1 Security Supplier in the World, click the links below to follow us on social media. We'll keep you updated on our company's growth. We also share tons of valuable content to help you learn more about security equipment and the security industry in general. If you don't want to miss any of our content, subscribe to our e-mail newsletter below.
Meet the Team
I've talked a lot about our company. But now I’d like to introduce you to the folks who really make the magic happen here at Nelly’s. I can tell you, if I got lucky or blessed with anything in this business, it’s the incredibly talented and dedicated team members we have here.
Founder of Nelly’s Security
Sales and Access Control Manager
Customer Support Executive
Technical Support Rep
Technical Support Rep
Technical Support Rep
Warehouse Team Member
Warehouse Team Member
Warehouse Team Member
Warehouse Team Member
Warehouse Team Member
Book Keeper Emeritus
Hannah Van Allen
Our retail store, warehouse, and office complex is centrally located in the heartland of the USA in Tulsa, OK.