This month we talk to the firm about

Indie Profile: ColleyGate Computers

We sit down with the MD of ColleyGate Computers, Steve Keating, to talk about the store’s award-winning website, serving both consumers and businesses and its first ever open day.

How did the company begin?
We started out mainly B2B. Then we wanted to do something retail based, so it was really just a case of finding the right location at the right time.

The recession hit and we thought it was a good idea to set up something then, as people tend to want to repair things rather than buy something new.

What services do you offer?
We offer desktop and laptop repairs down to a component level, and we do everything in house. We have a fully stocked retail outlet as well.

We build gaming machines for people too. If gamers are looking for something a bit more specialised we can build something that will play a particular game at its best settings.

How much of your business is B2B?
It’s probably half. So we split the business 50/50. There’s still a lot of demand for Windows 7 machines and customer installs of systems. We build a lot of machines for businesses.

What do you expect your biggest sellers to be this Christmas?
The same as every other year – laptops and tablets.

People are coming in now looking to price up laptops for Christmas. Quite a few don’t want to go to big retail stores, they’d rather come to us because we can do all the data transfers from their old machines to the new ones.

Tablets will be a good seller this year. As of this year we’ve started selling iPads. We did look at other tablets but people know the iPad and that’s the only tablet they want. For every enquiry we get for a desktop or laptop, we get three for an iPad.

You recently won the award for Best Website at Target’s Shoptalk IT Reseller Awards. How much of your business is done directly through your website?
Directly, none. We don’t have an online shop apart from our eBay side of things. The key point for the website is the marketing.

The other thing is we sell web design to people, so our website needs to be something that’s a little bit different – we use a tiled ‘Metro’ theme.

Everything else, such as offers and news, goes through our Facebook and Twitter accounts, unless it’s something local-specific like our open day, which we advertised in the newspaper.

What does that involve?
It’s our third year in the retail store, so it’s a way to say thanks to everyone who has used us. We’re having a bit of a party and giving away some free bits and pieces. We’ll also have some computers on site that people can try.

What are the advantages of having a physical store? When people drop off a computer they want to know it is with somebody who is professional and is going to do the best job possible.

What does the future look like for the company in the next year or so?
We are looking to expand. We’d like to open another store, but we’re just looking for the right area at the moment. Then in the next two to three years we’d like to see another one or two stores opening.

What’s the best thing about what you do?
We’ve become part of the community. We get lots of positive comments, and that’s very satisfying. People come back time and time again and it’s got to the point where we know a lot of our customers and they know us.

Year established: 2010
Number of staff: 2
Address: 20 Windmill Hill Cradley Halesowen West Midlands B63 2DB
Telephone: 01384 831302

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