When Cindy Jillson began thinking about setting up her own computer sales, service and training company in Sarnia, she admits she had one person in mind for the one who would do the “heavy lifting.”
And so it is that Bluewater TEK Centre came to be.
The storefront operation is now open at 795 Exmouth St. at the corner of Exmouth and Copland
Samms, who has some three decades of experience in the field—three years of it locally—will be managing the business, which is owned by Jillson.
Jillson says Bluewater TEK Centre will be a smart alternative for people who may find themselves being encouraged to buy a new computer (she referred to her having visited so-called “big box” stores where more than often “buy a new one” was the default advice).
“Randy is able to do some amazing things with systems,” she says. “It’s often a case of cleaning up the computer, putting everything back the way it should be.”
Other services include training (in groups or individually), and everything related to repair, as well as the building of custom systems to specifications or the supply of refurbished computers.
The store is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9a.m. to 2p.m. It can be found on the web at www.bluewatertekcentre.com. The phone number is (519) 491-2155.
Bluewater Tek Centre manager and IT specialist Randy Samms stands in the store's original Northgate Shopping Centre location (Now located at 795 Exmouth St) . CARL HNATYSHYN/SARNIA THIS WEEK
Bluewater Tek Centre's Randy Samms knows his way around a computer.
With over 30 years of experience fixing, tweaking, rebuilding and revamping all sorts of devices – from removing viruses from simple PC's to helping design and implement the arrivals board at Pearson International Airport – the veteran IT technician has the ability to turn even the most infected of computers into functional, fluid high-tech accessories.
His lifelong passion for all things IT also means he is constantly expanding his knowledge about computers, operating systems and programs even as they are released at a head-spinning pace.
“Every quarter you're reading about something new coming out,” he said, smiling. “And I can tell you the answer.”
With that wealth of experience and knowledge Samms, along with owner Cindy Jillson, decided to set up shop and provide a plethora of computer services for the public, opening Bluewater Tek Centre at the Northgate Shopping Centre.
The business, Samms said, offers a wide variety of goods and services for Sarnians who may not be terribly technologically-savvy, and gives them a personalized, warm and customized customer experience that can't be found elsewhere in the city.
“We offer computer repairs, virus repairs, malware removal, sales and any kind of repairs on laptops and desktops,” Samms said. “Anything you want in IT you can get it here. I'm going to check you in, I'm going to fix it and I'm going to give it back to you.”
Clients who come to Bluewater Tek Centre won't be pressured into buying sparkling new bells-and-whistles computers that they really don't need, Samms said. What they will get is an honest appraisal of what device fits their needs.
“What I found is that people are looking for inexpensive systems. People don't want to spend a whole lot of money and try to avoid wasting money, too,” he said. “We're upfront and we're honest, so our customers will know what they're getting.”
The pair picked the Northgate location because of its proximity to the people who are fast becoming Bluewater Tek's clients.
“I used to work on the other end of town and there was absolutely nothing retail-wise as far as computer service in the Northgate area. There was nothing here,” Samms said. “I can tell you that I don't drive and getting to the other end of town is tough. And I know many of our customers coming in don't drive either. So we're local, we're close and it's good that way.”
Asked what separates Bluewater Tek Centre from its larger, big box competitors, Samms said that the shop's small size and personalized service sets it apart.
“In bigger retail stores they have inventory and nice toys to look at. However, that's what online shopping is about too,” he said with a laugh. “We're small, we can adjust our hours and we can customize things exactly the way the customer wants it. We can also order pretty much anything and get it within a day.”
Foregoing fees for simply diagnosing what's wrong with your computer is another benefit of coming to Bluewater Tek Centre.
“One of the things that sets us apart here is that if you've come in for an estimate, and it's something that we cannot repair, we're not going to charge you for it,” Samms said.
And that personalized service extends to other services at Bluewater Tek Centre as well. Samms provides hour-long group and individual courses for those interested in figuring out how to navigate new operating systems, how to get the most out of their PC or Mac or how to send a simple e-mail.
“Customers can bring in a list and we'll try to whittle it down,” Samms said of the training. “Even with simplifying the new Windows 10, I've got a client who is about 85 years old and I got a phone call every day from him about how to use it. I'm happy to say that the client is now able to use Windows 10.”
The speedy and specialized service of the local business has already won over countless customers, Samms said.
“It's the personal service – you bring your laptop in for repair here, I'll guarantee you a 24 to 48 hour turnaround,” he said. “People have been amazed.”
Bluewater Tek Centre is located at 795 Exmouth St., behind Healthy PAWS. The store is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2p.m. For more information, phone 519-491-2155 or visit www.bluewatertekcentre.com.