Microtech duo offers computer solutions
Rare are the business partners who can boast they've spent half their lifetimes learning the trade before opening their business.
But Joe Brieitweser, 21, and Gabe Johnson, 22, the masterminds behind the Microtech Computer Center, can do just that.
Friends since childhood, the Park Rapids graduates began fixing computers at about age 11, assembling them a short time later.
Breitweser headed to Dunwoody Institute after graduation to earn a degree in architectural design. The self-taught computer guru found himself not only repairing fellow students' computers, but his professors', as well.
He gained experience in commercial networking and data security and has worked on print servers and other commercial devices.
Now they share their experience and training, building computers based on customer needs, upgrading them and repairing the cyber space capsules.
"We decided the town needed a reliable retail store with service," Johnson said of their decision to open Microtech Computer Center in the Bruhn Optical building on Highway 34 east.
"Not everyone has a passion to repair computers," he said. "You have to keep up to date and enjoy it, or you won't succeed."
The duo is qualified to work with Windows, Macs and Linux operating systems.
The basic computer "innards" - Windows or Mac - are the same, Breitweser said. "When building them, we use the best quality parts because we don't want to fix them."
They build desktop and laptop computers based on customer needs, offering three packages - the basic computer with Internet and word processing; mid-line, with photo editing, entry level gaming and more hard drive, for example, and the power computer with gaming, video editing, more RAM and other features.
They offer a one-year warranty - so customers need not go through Hewlett Packard or Dell, for example, for service. And they will share "computer basics" with customers wanting to gain familiarity.
Breitweser and Johnson have set-up services and will pick up and deliver computers for repair within a five-mile radius. Most repairs are completed within one to two days.
"We walk people through what caused the problem, tell them what they did wrong to prevent it from happening again," Breitweser said.
The two spend a few hours conducting research each evening "to keep up with tech changes."
They update specifications on their computers monthly. "It's the same philosophy as the Macs," Breitweser said. "Prices stay the same but we update specs."
The micro techs will complete computer upgrades, adding memory and cleaning up programs to run faster. "It's cheaper than buying new," Johnson pointed out. They prefer nothing older than four or five years old - "but we can do older."
They've resurrected computers that have been deemed irreparable.
They will conduct "data migration," transferring old data to a new computer, and offer Web design services.
Virus removal and rebuilding operating systems can also be completed at the shop.
They fix "physical" laptop and desktop problems, such as keyboard and fan repair or broken screens.
In their month of operation, they have upgraded and conducted virus removal in 80 systems.
"We're getting busier and busier," Breitweser said. One of their customers, pleased with the results, took a handful of their business cards for distribution.
"It's fun," he said. "When you love what you're doing, it doesn't seem like work."
The store is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They offer free estimates. Visit their site, at www.microtechcc.com.