“A story from zero to the top with diligence, determination, willpower and creativity”
The year is 1953. Sadık Özgür built the Kale Kilit brand based on the principles of quality, trust and guarantee, and with this vision laid the foundations for Turkey’s leading lock brand. This success story is today being carried into the future by a huge team who will uphold the principles of Sadık Özgür.
Sadık Özgür was born in 1930 in the Bayırüstü village of the Divriği district of Sivas. From the age of 15, he learned turnery during his apprenticeship in the Divriği Iron Mines. In 1948, he came to Istanbul with only his craft and 52 liras in his pocket, and started working as a turner at the Havuzlar Shipyard, which belonged to the Denizcilik Bank.
Kale Kilit’s story began in 1953 in Sadık Özgür’s 40-square-meter workshop in Tahtakale. This was also the first place he owned. He began by making bedstead pipes, then produced gas stove grills and bird cages.
In 1956, he produced the first padlock, signifying the birth of the lock industry in Turkey. The padlock, named “Çato” by Sadık Özgür, sold out on the market. With a vision of branding, he named his locks “Kale” (Fortress) to symbolize strength and durability. This is how the leading brand in the lock industry, Kale Kilit, was born.
In 1957 he moved to a larger workshop in Bahçelievler and continued production. He diversified his product range with the introduction of mortise locks, safety locks and mortise locks for apartments. His principle was to always use the best materials, machinery and workmanship.
He summarized this vision and the principles he built his brand on as follows:
“No matter what happens, whether it be loss or profit, you should always prioritize honesty. Secondly, you should manufacture high-quality products. Under no circumstance should you try to offer substandard products. Not all products come out perfect. You should not package the lock unless it goes ‘snap-snap-snap’ in the inspection. You should discard any deficient products. We have been working with the same customers since day one, following this manner, and we have not offended anyone.”
He established the Kale Kollektif Şirketi in 1958, continuing with an increased number of employees and machinery. He started producing “Turkey’s first safe lock” in 1965. In 1979, the production facility in Bahçelievler was moved to its new location in Güngören, which would serve as the headquarters for nearly 40 years. This new factory became Turkey’s first state-of-the-art lock factory and, in the same year, Özgür restructured the company with the name Kale Kilit ve Kalıp Sanayi A.Ş.
In 1988 he united all his companies under Kale Endüstri Holding A.Ş. In 2008, when Kale Kilit celebrated its 55th anniversary, he left the Chairmanship of Kale Endüstri Holding to his son Sedat Özgür and continued his role as Honorary Chairman. In 2014, Özgür laid the foundations for Europe’s biggest integrated lock manufacturing facility in Çerkezköy. All production was subsequently moved there.
For his selfless, successful and helpful work, the Turkish Grand National Assembly awarded him with the “State Medal of Distinguished Service” in 2011.
Sadık Özgür believed community development was key to economic development, which is why he prioritized investing in his place of birth to support their social development.
- He brought drinking water from 10 kilometers away to the village Bayırüstü, where he was born, and distributed it to the houses. He also installed a plumbing system in the houses.
- In the 1960s, he established a Development Cooperative on behalf of the village and purchased trucks and tractors.
- He set up tapestry looms, creating a new line of business for the village women.
- He also established a telephone exchange and connected phone lines to the houses to connect the village to the world.
- He arranged construction of the Divriği-Samancı Deresi village roads and the Samancı Deresi Bridge.
- He established a few primary schools, one secondary school, one mining vocational school and one trade vocational school in Divriği and provided all kinds of facilities from conference halls to personal computers.
- He helped build a dormitory with a capacity of 150 students so that students from the neighboring villages and districts could easily attend these schools.
- Twenty successful students were selected from the villages of the Divriği district of Sivas to receive a boarding school education at Behçet Kemal High School and Erenköy Girls High School in Istanbul.
- In Divriği, a primary school was built with a capacity of 300 students and a secondary school with a capacity of 250 students.
- Significant contributions were made to the foundation of the Divriği Mining Vocational School affiliated with the Sivas Cumhuriyet University.
- Scholarships were awarded to 100 students annually to enable them to continue their education.
- Ambulances and school buses for students were donated to Divriği Municipality.
- An eight-story 2,600-square-meter building in Istanbul Yenibosna was donated to the Sadık Özgür Bayırüstü Village Development, Education, and Culture Foundation.
- A 96-bed hospital and a 12-apartment residential complex for the hospital personnel were constructed on 21,000 square meters of land in Divriği.
The success story of Sadık Özgür, a doyen who has left his mark on the industry, is an homage to the very few brave entrepreneurs of the 1950s, when industrialization was just beginning to take place in Turkey.