Two decades ago, Scott Garman opened a television repair shop. While he still fixes TVs, he's since expanded his small business to computers. He owns and operates Northwest Electronics, 680 E. Washington Blvd., and has two employees. Garman joined us for this week's business Q&A.
Q: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
A: I've been repairing TV's for 20 years and been in the computers for 15. Basically what we do here is repair, we do some custom configurations of computers and we do sell some already assembled computer by other manufacturers, but probably by far our biggest income would be for the repair end of it and maintaining systems for people. I've been in business in Del Norte County for nine years.
Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?
A: Just a fascination with electronics I've had since I was a young boy. The computers came later in life.
Q: What training or education did you need?
A: Most of my training has been through high school and the military, and then basically just hands-on experience. A lot of reading.
Q: Were you previously in another line of work or business?
A: I worked for Arrow Audio and Video Service that used to be here in Crescent City for five years. Then I moved to Georgia because I was married to a Georgia girl. Then I worked at another TV shop out there. Basically I've been in the same line of business.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
A: Other than expanding, it hasn't changed a whole lot. Other than the fact we have to keep up with the changes in TV and computer design.
Q: What business decision or action would you change if you could do it again?
A: Work for somebody else! If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't go into business for myself. To me, it's a stressful situation. It's constant; you work here and then you work at home.
Q: What's the toughest business decision you've ever made?
Probably my toughest decision would be the fact that sometimes I don't know if I should have gotten into the computer end of it, simply because there's too much competition.
Q: How do you distinguish your business from your competitors?
A: Better variety and more in stock.
Q: How do you define success for your business?
A: Really success only comes when the customer is happy, because the customer is your business.
Q: What are your goals for your business? What are you doing to reach those goals?
A: The biggest goal I have is to be the only computer parts distributor in town. To go about achieving that, I provide better customer service. A lot of people are willing to pay more if the customer service is there.
Business Beat appears every Wednesday. To suggest a profile subject or submit a news item, contact correspondent Christine Walters at 954-7703, or mail news releases to: Business Beat, The Daily Triplicate, P.O. Box 277, Crescent City, CA 95531.