‘Repair’ is operative word at The Cell Phone Repair Shop in GV | TheUnion.com

‘Repair’ is operative word at The Cell Phone Repair Shop in GV

Spencer Kellar
Special to The Union
Employees of the Cell Phone Repair Shop Robert MacGregor, left, Joe Nettles, Sierra Slaton, owner Gerald Vance and Patrick Denboske restore broken cell phones in Grass Valley on Wednesday.
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

Gone are the days of cellphones looking like giant bricks with an antenna. As technology evolves at a rapid pace, cellphones have become an integral part of daily life for many. And when these sophisticated devices break, the expense can be immense.

Since it opened at the end of July 2014, The Cell Phone Repair Shop has been aiming to minimize those costs by repairing damaged phones at its location at 534 Brunswick Road in Grass Valley. Though not a new idea, the business is one of the first of its kind in the community, said owner Gerald Vance.

“I saw a need, for sure. This service exists in Roseville, Sacramento, Yuba City. People were either buying a new phone and not realizing their (old phone) could be repaired for a fraction of the cost, or they knew about the ability for it to be repaired and were driving an hour away to get it done,” he said.

“Basically, these smart phones are the new computers. Fifteen or 20 years ago, a computer repair shop was kind of the equivalent to what this is now, and this community has been able to support multiple computer repair stores,” Vance added.

“More and more people are using their mobile device as their primary computer. It just happens that your computer is also a cellphone.”

Vance, a Nevada County resident, has been working a long time in technology.

At the age of 17, while a senior in high school, Vance was hired by computer company ComTech.

He says he took the skills he learned from his position there and applied them to his new job.

“I took the skills that I had and self-taught. If you have the motivation and the aptitude for it, then you can find out how to do things and hone it and improve it. That’s basically what I’ve done. I was given a chance when I was 17 years old and still a senior in high school by ComTech, (which) was a company in town. I basically went over and kept bothering them and bugging them and turning in resumes until they finally hired me,” Vance explained.

“I worked for them for over five years. It was an amazing opportunity, and I am so thankful that I was given that at that age. Right now, I have five employees and three of them are younger; one of them is 17. So I’ve been inspired to give the same opportunity that was given to me, which is to give younger people an immediate opportunity to get into the technical field and see if it’s something that works for them,“ he added.

Aside from offering cellphone repairs, Vance and his staff are also willing to fix tablets and other personal electronics.

“We get more cellphones than anything else. But we do work on iPads, GPS units; pretty much anything people want to bring us. Repair is definitely the cornerstone of our business. We also offer used phones that we warranty, pre-paid cellular services, and accessories,” Vance said.

For some of the more popular smartphones, like the Apple, Samsung, and Motorola products, The Cell Phone Repair Shop keeps an inventory that allows them to do same-day repairs. Fixing a broken iPhone screen, which Vance says is one of their most common jobs, can take as little as 30 minutes.

The convenience of timely work plus the reduced cost of fixing your expensive toy instead of going out and getting a new one has made the business popular in short order. The amount of traffic Vance receives each day varies from 40 to 100 people, he says.

He’s already planning on how to expand his store and his staff to reach even more customers, but for now, he’s just happy Nevada County has embraced his enterprise.

“Ultimately, I am very happy to be able to provide a service this community needs. This is my hometown,” Vance said. “I’ve grown up here, worked for some local businesses, and now that I’m a business owner, I have a sense of pride. It’s not only awesome to have this business, but to have it here, in this town, in a community I love.”

Spencer Kellar is a freelance writer living in Nevada City; he can be reached at spencerkellar@gmail.com.

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