A three-year-old Roanoke cellphone repair company has partnered with nTelos to open its first retail operation.
Those Phone Guys opened a store last week inside the nTelos store on Williamson Road near the intersection with Orange Avenue.
Matthew Snider started the business after he twice found himself unemployed during the recession, he said. The woman he was dating at the time had broken her phone and asked him to fix it. Snider has a background in information technology but had never repaired a cellphone. He gave it a try and found that he understood the mechanics of cellphones, he said. It gave him the idea to start the business.
He operated the business from his home and advertised by leaving his business card at dozens of companies in the area, paying for an advertisement on the search engine Google and using Facebook and Craigslist.
Along the way he encountered and learned to fix nearly every problem that can afflict a cellphone, he said, from water damage to broken screens and damaged charging ports.
Business has grown, and Snider wanted to open a store. He proposed opening alongside several carriers, and an nTelos manager, with permission from the corporate office, took him up on the opportunity.
Those Phone Guys are set up within the store and can do same-day repairs that many other carriers and cellphone repair companies have to mail out. The company also repairs tablets, gaming consoles, MP3 players and LED and LCD televisions. They also work on car stereos and can custom-build PCs.
Snider took on a business partner, Jamel Greene, with the opening of the store, and has plans to expand the business. He is in negotiations to buy out a Lynchburg cellphone repair business, he said, and would also like to have an office in Blacksburg. He would like to expand even further , either by franchising the business or opening company stores elsewhere in Virginia.
Several other cellphone repair services have become available in the last year.
Batteries Plus Bulbs began offering repairs in September, and Lee Hartman and Sons and Trade and Repair phones, a kiosk inside Valley View Mall, also offer cellphone repairs.
Also in the column, a liquidation business, Noah’s Archaic, has opened a showroom on Starkey Road, and the owner and developer of the Shoppes at West Village has put up for sale a piece of land hoping that it will lure retailers to build.