Recently, we sat down to talk to Rick Salinas, owner of Experimac of Arvada, CO. Rick explained that his store opened up near the end of August 2016 and although this is his first time running his own business. Prior to opening his Experimac store, Rick worked in software development and accrued over 30 years of experience in this field as a developer, VP of Engineering and Director of Engineering. Working right alongside Rick is his store manager, Zach. With franchises across the country, Experimac is a trusted tech source for Apple® product repairs, upgrades, pre-owned sales and trade-ins for iPhone® devices, iPad® tablets, iMac® computers, MacBook® laptops and more. Additionally, Experimac sells accessories for these devices and offers same day service for repairs and upgrades. We are often 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. Rick moved to Arvada, CO about 2½ years ago but he had actually lived there about 28 years ago for approximately 3 years when he first got married. His family moved from the area but they decided to move back because they liked the Arvada area so much. Deciding to open a business in Arvada was an easy choice; Rick explained that on the practical front, he thought it made sense to open the business somewhere near home and in addition to that, he wanted to provide a valuable service to the people of the community he lived in. Life as an entrepreneur might be new for Rick but he's really excited about this opportunity and being in a city he loves. Rick's wife is behind the scenes taking care of all the bookkeeping for the store. Here is some more of what Rick shared about his experience as the owner of Experimac of Arvada, CO. EXPERIMAC: What have you found to be the most interesting or exciting part of owning an Experimac store? Rick: Making a customer happy. To me, that's what makes this all worth it. I wanted to offer a service to the community that has meaning to the people so I love it when someone comes in all flustered that they're going to lose all their data but my techs are able to recover everything and make their whole system work better than it did before. To me, the best thing is seeing that customer satisfaction with what we deliver to them. EXPERIMAC: So, to you, it's not just about making money. It's about delivering a valuable service to the people you care about in your community. Would you agree? Rick: Yes! We try to be great at customer service. That's one reason I hired Zach as the manager. At his previous job, he was a top salesman in the nation but he was always getting comments about his excellent customer service. I wanted him to come in and teach my other employees how to do that and so far, we've achieved that. Everyone that's come to our store has left very satisfied. EXPERIMAC: What would you say is the most challenging part of owning an Experimac store? Rick: The most challenging aspect for me would be that it's a new business and I was not used to the marketing aspect. Additionally, it's a new name in this area. There weren't other Experimac stores here in Colorado so learning the marketing side of things and learning how to get our name out there and draw people into the store have been the greatest challenges but also learning experiences. EXPERIMAC: When it comes to the repairs, with a software engineering background, I have to ask, are you doing the repairs yourself or have you hired technicians to do them? Rick: Up until now, my technicians have been doing the repairs. And Zach is a hands-on manager so he's doing repairs as well. EXPERIMAC: Have you been able to get involved in the local community? Have you joined any networking groups, like Chambers of Commerce or anything like that? Rick: Yes, we belong to the Chamber of Commerce and we recently had a booth at and were a key sponsor for their annual event, Taste of Arvada. Other than that, we go to some of their after-hours events for great networking opportunities. I also belong to a Business Network International (BNI) group, based in Golden, the next town over. I stay in touch with a lot of members from that organization because they actually come from all over the Denver metro area so they're helping me get my name spread out a little more. EXPERIMAC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers overall? Rick: Everyone that has come in to our store has said that they love the technicians and Zach! They rave about them saying they provide great service and we've even had comments such as, "this is the best customer service I've ever had" and "it's rare to see this kind of service anymore." It's been very positive for us as well as for our customers. We've even had people that have come to us because they tried the Apple store but had no luck getting their issue resolved - either because it was beyond the date that Apple would service their product or it would take 4 days to get in to see someone at the Apple store to get their phone repaired. They've come to our store and they're amazed that we're done within an hour and that we provided great customer service too. EXPERIMAC: Have you guys noticed any patterns in terms of the services your customers need? Have you seen more need for screen repairs and less need for computer upgrades, for example? Rick: As far as our store, I'd say the majority of the work we've done is laptop repairs or dealing with performance issues in laptops. We'll do some troubleshooting, clean up, perhaps replacement of a disc, etc. We certainly do a number of phone repairs but I'd definitely have to say our biggest demand has been for laptop repairs. EXPERIMAC: In terms of customer demographics in your area, have you seen any trends? Is it primarily college students or is it families coming in with technology issues? Rick: I'm still trying to get a good grasp on that. It seems to be quite a mix so far. We have a lot of schools in the area but we're not really on a path that they walk by so we don't get a lot of students. We get more parents and older adults that are either looking at Macs for the first time or that have a Mac but they're not real familiar with it. EXPERIMAC: How many hours do you work on a typical day? Rick: During the week, between the store and my other job, my days are no shorter than 11 hours long. I close up the store each night. On Saturdays, I try to put in about 2-3 hours as a minimum and really try to be there to close up as well so my guys can get home a little earlier. Sundays, I try to reserve for the family and some down time. EXPERIMAC: When you're not working or inside the store, do you have any hobbies or pastimes you enjoy? Rick: One of the things I enjoy a lot is riding my bicycle, especially in the summer. I keep saying I miss fishing and want to try to make the time for it again - string fishing and fly fishing, in particular. I like to drive up in the mountains to fish which means driving about an hour or so away but I'm hoping to make it happen soon. EXPERIMAC: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Rick: As an entrepreneur, one thing I'm learning on the job is patience. You have to be patient and realize that not everything you try is going to work but you have to keep trying so I'd also say perseverance is critical. Stick with your plan, work hard. And the biggest for me, is to be open and willing to learn. This is new for me so there has definitely been a learning curve. I've learned a lot but only because I've been open to it. As you can see, Rick is not afraid to put in long hours and learn along the way as a new business owner; this has really contributed to his success at Experimac of Arvada, CO. With a strong store manager leading the pack on a daily basis, no wonder the customers at Experimac of Arvada are so pleased with the customer service they're receiving. If you're in the area, stop by the Arvada, CO location, we're sure the techs will dazzle you as well.