Jennifer Griffiths, Co-Owner and Head Technician of Chips Computers, reveals how the PC repair store’s services have changed over the years, and what it’s like working in a male-dominated industry.
Can you give us a brief history of Chips Computers?
Chips Computers started as a PC repair call-out service in 2005. In 2013, [co-owner and husband] Phil and I decided we wanted a shop. Computer Fairs were dying a death and it was costing as much to have a stand every Saturday and Sunday with limited space as it would be for a store’s rent where you could have room for retail, repair and building. To me it just made sense to have a store and leave the Computer Fairs but keep the call-out side of things. Since then we have collected numerous awards for what we do.
How have your service offerings evolved over the years?
In days gone by, we used to have a lot of repairs due to viruses. We are seeing less of the traditional viruses (trojan) and more of ransomware and scams. In addition to this we see a lot more issues after Windows updates with Windows 10 than with previous OS updates. Unlike other stores, we specialise in Windows-based computers and recommend local stores for anything Apple or Android related. Reason being, we believe in working together and keeping trade local.
What are your top selling products?
Our top selling products are custom PCs, followed by branded laptops. This is followed by Bullguard Internet Security and compatible inks. We have also had an increase of people purchasing and having us fit SSDs. On the peripherals side of things, I have seen an increase in gaming keyboards and mice since we started offering our Cooler Master line.
Do you think there’s more support for women in the industry than when you first started out? Women are a minority for the most part in our field. Many people (mostly older men) think I am the receptionist and ask for my husband still. When I tell them I am qualified, they may or may not talk to me. Also, with representatives from manufactures, sometimes they look to the men and overlook women in the industry. Maybe more women would get into the computer industry if they were treated with more respect.
As it is now, if you are not a gamer or one of the guys, so to speak, you don’t get very much respect. If I was to employ someone though, I would do it on merit and not sex, religion or politics.
What’s in the pipeline for Chips Computers?
In January of this year, we launched Tech For Techs. This is basically a review/business advice website with a social aspect. We have done this to help people in our industry get the right advice and products for their needs. In the future we hope to get a larger store for Chips Computers as well as having a dedicated studio for reviews and a function room for events.
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