Lengthening lives of phones and computers
With tech products lasting longer than ever before, owners are increasingly relying upon businesses like CPR Cell Phone Repair Bermuda to keep their computers and mobile phones in good order.
That is good news for Alex Jones, co-owner and store manager of the Washington Lane business, and his staff of ten full-time employees, one part-time staff member and one student.
Mr Jones said: “Any computer made in the last ten years, and running Windows 10 with no problem, will do all you need. As products are lasting longer, repair shops like ours are keeping them out of the dump.”
He added: “The same goes for phones. The iPhone 6 is over five years old now. People will still be using them in five years no problem. You can expect to replace the battery every two to four years. That takes us just 90 minutes to do.
“We fix what no one else in Bermuda can fix. We can resurrect phones where other people would say ‘it’s dead’.”
The business also sells products including authentic Pop Sockets, invisible shields, phone cases including the popular Nimbus9 and Pelican brands, Qmadix iphone charging cables, as well as reconditioned Apple laptops.
All products sold carry a one-year warranty, while parts have a lifetime warranty against defects. Mr Jones said the business will price-match any local competitor for the same-quality parts.
Mr Jones started the business with a kiosk in Washington Mall before acquiring another operation and moving to Court Street. Three years ago, the business took on a large rent increase when it made the move onto Washington Lane, and a year ago it joined the Florida-based CPR network and changed its name to reflect that affiliation.
“I really miss Court Street, especially the food, but the move to Washington Lane was one of the best moves we have made because it put us in a larger space and put us closer walking distance to more people,” Mr Jones said. “With the larger space, we were able to expand our offerings and serve more people with the things they need.”
Named last year as the top revenue-generating store in the chain of some 750 CPR shops worldwide, the Bermuda operation packed up its first Washington Lane location two days before Black Friday, and moved into its new spot in the former home of now-closed stationery and gift shop Pulp & Circumstance a day later.
The move from a 550-square-foot outlet to one measuring 1,250 square feet allows the business to expand its technical team as well as its stock of parts, Mr Jones said.
The operation is an example of the critical role that small businesses play in the Bermudian economy, said its owner.
Mr Jones said: “This store supports 28 people, which is why these kind of businesses are really important. It might look like ten or 12 people, but the reality is there are 28 people who need to eat.”
Last year, Mr Jones said, the business paid $200,000 in taxes.
“One of the big challenges for us is the increased cost of doing business in the form of hidden taxes like the increase in custom duties and foreign currency purchase tax, which add up behind the scenes, as well as the big rise in healthcare costs,” he said.
“It is hard for a business like ours, which pays all of its taxes and its social insurance, to compete when other businesses are delinquent and are effectively handed a cost advantage.”
The experienced businessman participated in the first cohort of Ignite Bermuda, the privately funded entrepreneurial accelerator programme, and is among its supporters.
Mr Jones said: “Ignite is hugely valuable to Bermuda and Bermudians. Its true impact will not be felt for years, even decades, because people will take the lessons learnt going forward and apply them not just to the businesses in Ignite, but into future businesses and careers, too.
“For me, being in business can be a very lonely endeavour. Through Ignite, I found a community of people and had the resources to finally talk to someone, and that is valuable.”
He also got some practical advice from Sean Reel, Ignite’s executive director.
“Sean has even got experience in the wireless business, and some of the design of the new store has been influenced by ideas from Sean,” Mr Jones said. “This is a brighter space, and some of that is directly related to Sean’s suggestion. We are going to get brighter, too.”
Mr Jones added: “If anyone is thinking about Ignite, go and do it. It’s a short programme, the time goes by quickly so get the most out of it while you are there because time flies.”
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