By Shari Valenta
When meeting someone who is into computers, the first question to ask is, “Are you a PC or a Mac person?” It’s much like asking a driver if they prefer a stick or an automatic. One can tell a lot about a person that way. Steve Rusley, owner of Computer Renaissance, prefers PCs—which basically says he’s a do-it-yourself type of guy. His shop is the perfect place if you need to have a computer fixed or just need to buy parts to repair at home.
“Building a computer can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before,” remarked Rusley. “When you purchase components here, we’ll give advice on how to do it and offer tips to get started. We’ll make suggestions on what to buy and ways to shorten the assembly process. This way people won’t get frustrated, throw up their hands and give up. If they do, they can bring the computer back and we’ll finish the job.”
Computer Renaissance has 100 stores worldwide. In addition to their Centennial location, they have shops in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Littleton. Computer Renaissance not only fixes computers and takes trade-ins, but they also sell custom-built new ones. Some them start as low as $499, but can be built to individual specifications. Have a system that always crashes while playing Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004? Buy a custom-built machine with three gigs of ram and a screaming graphics card. Add a DVD burner, larger hard drive, memory and more. New computers come with a two-year warranty.
“A lot computer stores only offer a one-year warranty included in the price of a new computer, so I’m proud that we offer the two-year warranty,” said Rusley. “Even our refurbished computers have a 90-day warranty included with the price of the computer. We also offer extended warranties at very low prices that go up to two or three years. For example, a notebook that costs $600 comes with a 90-day warranty, but you can extend that to a two-year warranty for $79. That’s pretty inexpensive compared to what a lot of companies charge for their warranties.”
Rusley says Computer Renaissance is not like other computer stores, because of its service. They have a quick turnaround—48 to 72 hours in most cases. In addition to building and repairing computers, Computer Renaissance A+ certified technicians can install a secure network for a small business. Rusley believes customer service is the key to success.
“We want to make customers happy,” said Rusley. “The best source of business for us is referrals. We could advertise all day long in newspapers but nothing works better than someone saying to their friend, ‘I received great customer service from Computer Renaissance.'”
The best way to make customers happy, according to Rusley, is to make sure his staff speaks to customers without using too much jargon.
“It’s one thing to just know a lot about computers,” remarked Rusley. “However, you must be able to work with people, talk to people and understand their problems. You can’t talk over their heads and say, for example, ‘What you need is a 50 gigabyte blah, blah, blah.’ Sometimes customers don’t know what that is and become turned off.”
Rusley’s store has been open for almost six years. He enjoys the work because of the satisfaction it brings him. Over the years, he has enjoyed helping people with their computers, particularly seniors.
“We have a lot of senior customers. They’re particularly grateful for good service because they don’t seem to get it in very many places,” said Rusley, wholeheartedly. “We even had some people bring us brownies and bake bread to thank us.”
Rusley started out as a certified public accountant, but later wanted to change careers.
“In the late 1980s, just as I was at the end of my CPA career, the first IBM PCs came out,” he said. “Those machines had as much computing power as your wristwatch has today, but it was still pretty revolutionary. It was then that I became interested in computers.”
Rusley was the chief financial officer for a couple different software development companies.
“I did a lot of consulting for small local businesses working with computerized accounting systems and also networking,” he said. “It was a natural progression for me. I learned about the Computer Renaissance franchise through a friend and it sounded like an interesting concept.”
When Rusley’s not working in the cave on a computer, he enjoys being out in the sunshine playing golf.
Look for Computer Renaissance specials on laptops for Father’s Day this month!
Computer Renaissance is located at 6882 S. University Blvd. Hours of operation are from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Mon.- Fri., 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sat., and 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sun. For more information, call 303-488-7480 or visit [http://www.compren.com].