We recently sat down for a nice chat with Jim and Jamie Spisak from Experimac of Plano, TX. They were the 19th Experimac store to open. This dynamic father-daughter duo, who had never worked together before, opened their doors just before the holidays in December 2015 after leaving corporate America and making the decision to pursue a business of their own. With franchises across the country, Experimac is a trusted tech source for Apple® product repairs and upgrades, pre-owned sales and trade-ins for iPhone® devices, iPad® tablets, iMac® computers, MacBook® laptops and more. Additionally, we also sell accessories for these devices and offer same day service for repairs and upgrades. Often, we’re able to fix your device while you wait. Experimac offers a 90-day warranty on all repairs because we want all of our customers to experience the Experimac difference.
Life as an entrepreneur can be quite the roller coaster but it seems to have been a great choice for the Spisaks. They get along really well and have open lines of communication which will undoubtedly help them be successful. Jim and Jamie have found it really rewarding to go above and beyond for some of their customers, really going the extra step to help out and they have made a big difference for their customers as they become a part of the community in Plano, TX. Here is some more of what they shared about their experience as the owners of Experimac of Plano, TX.
EXPERIMAC: Had you run your own business before? What was your background prior to this?
JAMIE: I had been a bank manager.
JIM: I was working in managerial positions with high tech companies. I had spent 25 years with IBM. I was also with Honeywell and Motorola.
EXPERIMAC: What made you leave your corporate jobs and venture out on your own?
JIM: It was time for me to go off on my own. I was tired of working for other people. My last job I was with a private equity group and that’s when I decided I wanted to go out on my own so I spent about a year researching various businesses, franchises, and existing businesses and when I came across the Experimac model, it really seemed to fit well with my background and everything else.
EXPERIMAC: And what about you, Jamie? Was it Dad convincing you?
JAMIE: Yeah, absolutely because I really liked my job. Dad asked if I would do it and I trusted him. How do you say no to your Dad? And I figured it would be something exciting and something I had never done before.
EXPERIMAC: What are your different roles in the store? Who’s doing what?
JAMIE: Ironically enough, we both do a little of everything. Dad does more of the ordering but we both do the repairs. Dad is better with software than I am and I’m better with hardware than he is but we both do repairs and we both interact with customers. At first, there were times I had to call other stores, like Experimac of Boynton Beach, FL, and say, “So this guy has a computer, it won’t turn on, where do I start?” Josh Barnes would spend a lot of time face-timing with us, walking us through the steps. We have learned a lot and our questions went from, “So this guy has a computer, it won’t turn on, where do I start?” to “This guy has a computer that won’t turn on. I’ve done this, this, and this. What would be your next step?” We have also hired Vance who is an expert coming to us after working for Apple for 15 years and then the Apple store for 8 years where he was a Genius. He’s got a lot of software know-how and has already taught us so much.
EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most interesting or exciting part of opening your own Experimac store? And the most challenging aspect of it?
JIM: The most challenging has been the technical side and making sure the customers walk out of here happy especially as we were coming up the learning curve on the technology. We had a couple of stumbles and that certainly made life exciting. We were able to recover. I think the vast majority of our customers are pretty darn happy with us. We’re getting a lot of referrals. During that learning curve as we were ramping up, that was exciting because people would come with some things and we had no clue what it was they were bringing us.
EXPERIMAC: What is your connection to the community of Plano? How long have you lived here? Why did you choose to go into business here?
JAMIE: My parents moved to Garland about 6 years ago and now we all live in Garland, about 10 miles away from Plano. When dad was looking to buy a franchise, we liked Plano. My mom teaches for the Plano School District in East Plano and we really liked the diversity in Plano. Plano is really big and it’s growing so it’s kind of neat to be a part of that. We like the Plano Chamber of Commerce a lot too.
EXPERIMAC: Have you guys been able to get involved into the Plano community?
JAMIE: Yeah, we sponsor a couple of public and private school PTAs. It’s a lot of fun! At one, we actually got to go and set up a little table at their “Fit Night” so we had a couple of iPads with some fitness apps on there and it was a lot fun to do that. And now we’re planning on doing the same thing next year. We donated to a chapter of my sorority at UT Dallas for their annual, big philanthropic event. That was cool and we’ll do that again next year as well. It’s still the first 7 months but we’re definitely starting to get involved and definitely want to work with schools. That’s where we really want to get involved. We really want to be helpful to people because we know there are schools and students, no matter how old they are, that could really benefit from our services and the products we sell so we really want to make sure they know about us.
We’ve joined the Plano Chamber of Commerce. My dad is also involved with the Knights of Columbus at his church. We’ve seen the return on going to those PTA events as well as advertising in small, local papers when customers come in to the store and share where they learned about us from these papers and we love that.
EXPERIMAC: What would you say the typical Experimac customer looks like?
JAMIE: There’s not one. It’s just not at all like that. We’ve had it all. There was actually a lady that we actually went to her house to help her with her computer and she was in her mid-80s and we’ve had people in here that are young parents. One guy who was in here the other day, he and his wife just found out they are pregnant and he needed a laptop instead of a desktop. And then we’ve got high school kids coming in here. Our youngest customer would be, well, our neighbor’s daughter with her broken iPad. Our customers range from 2 years old to 85 years old.
EXPERIMAC: So you actually went to someone’s house to fix their computer?
JAMIE: Yeah, that’s on a case-by-case basis. We can’t always do that but there is a nursing home across the street and this lady had come in for a repair so I went to help her with her printer because that wasn’t working so I went to get her computer all set back up because she had needed a whole new hard drive.
EXPERIMAC: What have been the big surprises in the first 6 months? Is this what you expected? Has everything gone the way you expected it to?
JAMIE: I think it’s probably been spot on. The one thing I expected, but didn’t want of course, was that we weren’t busy right off the bat. It’s taken time and a lot of effort to get busier. And I knew that would the case but that’s been the hardest reality I think. That being said, we’ve grown tremendously.
JIM: Early on, there were a few days when nobody would walk into the store and you worry.
EXPERIMAC: What are your goals for the next 6 months?
JIM: Getting more into the software services side of it. Repeat business. Offering classes.
JAMIE: That was a big part of bringing Vance on. We’d like to start offering classes for people who are new Apple users or you’d be surprised how many people don’t back up their phones, for example. And then something happens and they’re completely at a loss because they don’t have their information anywhere. We want to teach them how easy and how inexpensive it is to back up their most precious devices. We want to make sure they’re coming to us and trusting us in the long run as their local experts. We’d like to continue expanding on the services we offer. We have an Apple consultant we found through their network that we’d call up with some software things we weren’t sure about and he started sending us his customers with hardware issues because that’s not his thing. Some of his people have gotten upgrades but didn’t know what to do with their old devices that were still working well so now we’re an option for his customers too.
EXPERIMAC: Do you guys have any hobbies or things you enjoy when you’re not at the store?
JAMIE: Dad likes to cook. Every Sunday we have a family dinner and now that I live in Texas, our whole family lives here so we always have family dinners on Sunday with new recipes every week so that’s definitely his favorite thing to do. As for me, I have 2 dogs that I’m obsessed with. I like country music and I enjoy going to concerts so anywhere you can two-step is great.
As you can see, Jim and Jamie Spisak are off to a great start and are really enjoying doing business with the people of Plano, TX and welcome questions and visits to their Experimac store any time. In fact, a visit to their showroom will give you a chance to see a colored, vintage iMac computer that they’ve turned into a fish tank, of all things. The residents of the fish tank are Steve Jobs 3.0 and Steve Wozniak, both beta fish, and an albino catfish that they talk to every day. Come on in have chat with the residents of the fish tank at Experimac of Plano, TX.