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March 26, 2011

Shop Talk : CompTech

Daily Star

---- — Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to David Snyder of CompTech in Hobart.

How long have you lived in the area?

My whole life.

Tell me about your business:

CompTech is a computer sales and repair store serving all aspects of computing from custom-built PCs, repairs on all brands, sales of hardware and software, networking training, technical support and much more.

Describe a typical day in your business:

In the morning, I perform service calls to area homes and businesses. At noon, I open up the retail store and work on computers and sell merchandise to customers. Some evenings I do training in customers' homes on their computers.

How did you get started in this line of work?

I have always been technologically inquisitive and somewhat gifted in this area. I was the kid who tore everything apart to see what was inside.

My first foray into electronics was as a child _ I ripped apart a record player and tried to mount the turntable motor on my dump truck. In 1995, I purchased my first computer, and a few days later took a look under the hood and replaced some parts. In 1999, I had an opportunity to work as an apprentice for Ernie Holbrook of Fatman Computers in Oneonta for several months. In 2000, I started working on my own out of my house. In 2001, I opened for business officially, and in 2004, I built a new storefront with professional retail and work space.

In 2006, my wife and I incorporated and continue to serve my customers loyally.

Where do you see this business in five years?

Five years in the computing world is an eternity. It is extremely difficult to know where I will be in five years. As long as the computer industry and, more importantly, my loyal customers need me, I will be here serving them.

Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:

I would have to say the most memorable moment would be when I opened the new retail space. It signified a complete transition for me when I opened the doors of the new, more professional, fully stocked showroom and work space.

What have you learned from your work?

I have learned that it is very difficult to please everyone. I always strive to have a good reputation with honesty and caring being the cornerstone. In a small town, good word of mouth travels far fast _ bad word travels farther, faster.

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

The most challenging part of my job is staying up with the constantly changing technology and more importantly, security issues on the Internet. They say cockroaches will outlive a nuclear holocaust, but I think hackers will outlive cockroaches.

The most enjoyable?

The most enjoyable part of my job is making people happy _ when I am able to retrieve data for someone who hasn't backed it up or I am able to clearly explain how to do something on their computer. I love to see faces light up!

How do you define success for your business?

Success in these days of recession are measured in each day having your "Open" sign up.

What are some advantages as well as drawbacks of doing business in this area?

The advantages of doing business in this area are the way of life _ the quality of life here, to be more exact. The drawbacks are that there are a finite amount of customers, most of whom have tough budgets to worry about.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

I try very hard to please everyone. No one is a number here _ every customer matters to me and quality matters more than price. When I say quality, I mean quality of parts, quality of customer service and the quality of the relationship.

What advice would you give to someone trying to enter your field of work?

This question goes back to the five-year question. Someday all data and applications will be housed on cloud servers, making the device inconsequential. At that point, repair will slowly be phased out like it has been on so many products throughout time. VCR repairman was once upon a time a happening trade. I guess I would either look for a trade with more longevity, or make sure you are very adaptable to great changes.

Shop Talk interviews are conducted by Terry Hannum. For information, call The Daily Star at 432-1000, ext. 217, or e-mail