NORTH ADAMS -- With the majority of the population now owning cell phones and constantly using them, it's inevitable the devices will break. And when it happens, a local business owner has positioned himself to be the solution.
"Years ago, when your TV broke, you brought it to Sal's. Sal was like a TV repair guy. You couldn't afford to buy a new TV," Tim Lanfair, owner of IPhixit IPhone Repair said. "The same sort of thing is happening now with cell phones."
IPhixit IPhone Repair opened three weeks ago at 44 Eagle St.
"We fix iPod, iPad, all models of iPhone, most Mac computers, and I do dabble into Kindle Fires," Lanfair said. "I've always been a nerd. I've been working on Mac computers since the 90s. I've always been this way, but just never really did it for the public."
Lanfair originally started out small, working out of his girlfriend Jessica Gwozdz's Studio North Dance Arts on 145 State St. He decided to open the shop after demand for his services grew.
"I was doing some business for friends and family through Facebook. Next thing you know, I have a table set up at Jess' studio on Saturday, and then next I'm there three days a week fixing phones."
Lanfair first realized there was a demand for these repairs when he worked as a technician for Verizon Wireless in Pittsfield.
"I noticed on the front end [that] getting a phone there was great, but if something went wrong, the standard answers were buy one for full retail price or bring it to Apple and pay for them to fix it," he said.
Lanfair credits economics for the demand on his services.
"When you break a cell, do you want to pay 650 bucks for a new one? You know if a kid drops his iPad, mom brings it in to have it fixed. It's cheaper to have it fixed than to buy a new one," he said.
Geography also drove Lanfair's decision to open the Eagle Street location.
"You had to go to Pittsfield or Albany to get this stuff fixed," Lanfair said. "There are a lot of people up here between Williamstown, Bennington [Vt.] and North Adams that probably don't want to drive an hour for this."
According to Lanfair, plenty of people break their devices.
"Today I've already done two iPods and one Kindle Fire. That was just in the morning. I did 20 iPhones last week," he said.
If demand keeps up, Lanfair plans to expand his business.
"If I'm busy enough, I would like to get another technician trained, then do some warranty work for Apple," he said.
Lanfair is certified by Apple to perform repairs on the company's devices and says he prefers their products.
"I like Apple's stuff. It's repairable, it's put together with screws and a little glue, and parts are readily available" he said.
IPhixit IPhone Repair isn't Lanfair's first attempt at running a small business in North Adams. He also ran Los Amigos Burritos on 305 Ashland St. more than four years ago. Although that business didn't succeed, the experience helped him, he said.
Lanfair is originally from California but attended college in Vermont. He earned a master's degree in Kentucky, then moved back to the area and made a decision to stay.
"I met this great girl who lives in North Adams and that kind of threw a curve ball into my life because nobody wants somebody with a master's degree in disaster preparedness around here, so you kind of have to adapt," he said.