Techmate: Serving Community Computer Needs

By Brenda Erdahl

Do you have a phone that’s been run over by a truck, or fallen overboard during a fishing trip? Did the kids break the iPad or delete an important file from your laptop? The experienced technicians at Techmate in Buffalo can fix it, no questions asked.

“Problems manifest themselves in a lot of different ways. If you have something uncommon bring it in. We’ll tell you if we can fix it, if it’s worth fixing, or if you need to buy a new one,” technician and owner Andrew Nickel said. “Diagnostics are always free.”

Since Andrew and his brother Dan opened Techmate almost a year ago on 5th street northeast in Buffalo, they have been busy fielding an assortment of technical difficulties, even the ones that are a little off-the wall.

Their expertise includes general computer and technical support, repairs, computer trouble shooting, network problems, viruses, and data recovery.

The Nickel brothers started out as programmers, working mainly from their home. When a fire destroyed their home and consequently their business they changed from being programmers to serving community computer needs. Three years ago, they opened Techmate in St. Michael. The business did so well, they decided to expand. The brothers opened their Buffalo location in February of 2017, and they continue to be consistently busy.

Because computer issues can happen at all hours, Andrew, senior technician Mike Erickson, and one other part-time employee are available Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Buffalo store. No appointment is necessary, just bring in the device that is acting up and they will take a look at it.

“When we first started this business, we made a list of things people hate about tech shops and we decided these are what we are not going to do. One of the things on that list we hate is going to a tech shop during open hours and no one is there. So often shops will have one person working and they’ll have to leave for something and they close. Someone is always here during our business hours and no appointment is needed,” Andrew said.

Business services

Besides serving your personal computer concerns, Techmate is well equipped to take care of your business needs as well. Techmate technicians are capable of everything from IT work to networking issues. If a computer problem has brought your company to a grinding halt, Techmate’s emergency service will get you up and running again as quickly as possible. Techmate technicians are also available for technical advice.

For instance, one of the main issues Andrew foresees affecting businesses with older computer systems is their vulnerability to security flaws. Flaws are discovered all the time and manufacturers scramble to create patches. The most recent discoveries, “Spectre” and “Meltdown” have been said to have “unfixable security flaws.”

“A lot of older computers are going to be vulnerable, especially those running a business. I know it’s a pain to change your entire computer system, but I would recommend businesses, especially with older computers, consider changing to a newer computer system,” he said. “I’ve seen too many run their whole business off a laptop or an old desktop computer.”

If a new system is not feasible, he emphasized how important it is to do your windows updates and always have a back-up system.

“I have had to do some serious gymnastics to recover data. So far, I haven’t lost any, but it’s only a matter of time,” he said. Sales

Techmate has a revolving stock of refurbished computers and used phones for sale. Their computers are less expensive than new and have more value. “We make them ourselves and they are fast,” Andrew said. “If you put one of my $400 computers sideby- side with an $800 computer from a big box store, mine would run and boot up faster.”

Techmate’s stock continually changes, so if you didn’t see something you liked this month, next month you might. All sales come with a warranty.

Recycling

Techmate also offers free recycling of electronic components. The only electronics that cost money to recycle at Techmate are TVs from the 1980s and 1990s because of the amount of lead in them. Techmate charges $1 an inch for those.

Community minded

Andrew and his staff at Techmate believe in giving back to the community, so they were happy to get on board with a local teacher’s project to put technology in the hands of every student. Techmate is accepting donated used computers that they then wipe clean and set up for use in the classroom. The computer can be in practically any shape, and all repairs are done free of charge for the school.

“If it turns on and connects to the internet, it could help a kid do his homework,” Andrew said.

Techmate is located at 201 5th St. NE. Suite 2, in Buffalo. For more information visit their website at http://www.techmatemn.com or call 763-276-1303.

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