Friendly Computers Acquires Retail Chain - New Franchise Force Fills Service Voids
January 24, 2008 // Franchising.com // - Las Vegas, NV – Friendly Computers, now the country's largest computer retail repair franchise touted for reliable and "friendly" customer support, announced it has acquired a leading computer sales/repair retailer and vowed to use its new strength to wipe out the nation's frustration caused by inept big box store customer service.
The acquisition of Computer Renaissance, whose focus is primarily on home and business computer service and the sale of new and reconditioned computers, nearly doubles Friendly Computer's presence of retail and service oriented units nationwide from 73 to 131 and from 31 to 39 states. In addition, the transaction sets into motion a franchise expansion plan that includes growing their nationwide network to 500 units by 2013.
As part of the company's growth strategy, Friendly Computers will shift to a fully retail-oriented business model. Currently, more than 60 of its existing franchise units are home-based and, moving forward, will benefit from the products and services available at the franchise network's retail locations. Meanwhile, the company will offer both brand models as franchise opportunities. Friendly Computers President Bryan Ward emphasized that the company's emphasis on staying true to its core brand differentiators, such as customer service, value and community relations, will remain in tact as it grows.
"We're changing the face of the computer industry from `geek' to `chic'," Ward said. "Consumers and businesses are fed up with long hold times, pricey service calls, deficient equipment and downright ineffective resolutions to computer problems," Ward said. "As our footprint expands across the United States, businesses and households in every corner of the country will have a better answer to their computer needs."
Friendly Computers' value proposition includes a comprehensive suite of service offerings from certified technicians at a nationwide average of $88/hour (nearly half the cost of big box chains), 24/7 service, human response to customer calls and affordable new, customized and refurbished computer products.
"We have cherished our "customer first" motto since the day we started the company in 1992 out of my college dorm room at Brigham Young University," said Steve Ward, vice president of operations for Friendly Computers. "Our competitive advantage is our customer service, and we take great pride in making sure that will never change."
Another key factor differentiating Friendly Computers is its unique free online child-monitoring software, the "Purple Dude Internet Watch," available at www.purpledude.com. The software allows parents to gather information through screenshots taken at specified time intervals, tracked keystrokes to identify programs accessed, Web sites visited, and passwords used, which are all stored in a hidden, encrypted log file that can be automatically forwarded to the parents' email address.
"Unfortunately, the Internet can pose a huge threat for children," added Bryan Ward. "Parents need to stay involved with their kids' computer activities. If not monitored, young ones may easily see inappropriate adult-oriented content or be targeted by predators."
The growth of Friendly Computers is an inspirational small business success story. From Steve's college dorm to a garage in Las Vegas in 1994, eventually the family-run operations grew to include four brothers (Steve-44, Bryan-43, Michael-42, Timothy-38) and their father (Verlan-68). The family opened their first flagship store in Las Vegas, which still operates today. In addition, the firm recently added Don Ziegler, former franchise development director for the Waco, Texas-based Dwyer Group, to its executive team as director of marketing and franchise sales. Ziegler will oversee the chain's nationwide initiative to grow through franchising.
"We know the nation is ready for a new, friendly alternative to computer repair," Steve Ward noted. "Acquiring Computer Renaissance is an important aspect of being able to supply our services to a broader audience. Our franchise systems share the same core values and we are now going to double our national exposure in providing reliable, affordable, headache-free computer service."
About Friendly Computers
Founded in 1992, Friendly Computers is now the largest on-site and retail computer repair chain in the country. The company, which began out of a college dorm, provides quick, affordable, and no-hassle computer repair services. In addition to repairing, maintaining and upgrading computer systems, the acquisition of Computer Renaissance better equipped Friendly Computers to offer new, refurbished, and custom-built computers. For more information on Friendly Computers, please visit www.friendlycomputers.com or call 1-888-PCFRIEND (723-7436).
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