NerdsToGo make house calls
Helping residents and small businesses was a big draw for ELLEN KING in starting a Wilmington franchise of the computer services company NerdsToGo.
“That’s an area I think is underserved,” King says. “A lot of folks are reliant on technology, and if they have an issue with their computer or whatever is related to their technology, they might not always have the resources and they might not know where to go.”
King wants NerdsToGo to be the answer, with tech experts making house calls to homes and businesses, as well as offering in-store services at the 5725 Oleander Drive location.
“If your computer goes down, you could be working from home, what do you do?” King says. “You could have a very slow network, you could have an unprotected network, you could be getting viruses and malware, and it’s not like when you’re in the office, call up the IT department and say, ‘Hey, can you come down the hall and take a look at this?’ It’s a different situation.”
King previously owned her own consulting company in New York and worked as executive director of special events at Syracuse University.
“With the pandemic, we really shifted all of our programs to online, and that was my first foray into doing stuff that was very technology-heavy,” King says. That included researching and setting up ways for audiences to watch a monthly speaker series remotely.
King had wanted to open a franchise, and both NerdsToGo and the Wilmington area appealed to her. She leaned on her brother, an information technology expert, to learn more about the tech industry. Then she moved to Wilmington last October and opened NerdsToGo in June.
“My family had come down for a vacation the summer before and just fell in love with the area,” King says. “There’s so much to do here. It’s beautiful. You have the ocean, there’s great food, a lot of entertainment.”
King currently works with three “nerds,” including lead technical expert KEITH SIMONSON.
“Small businesses are working on shoestring budgets, or they’re working on a limited need for the complexity of systems that other managed service providers offer,” Simonson says. “We fill that role of where everything we do is modular.”
Services include cybersecurity, data backup and recovery, computer repair, and wireless networking. “It’s a wide array of services,” King says.
It’s also about fun, as the name suggests.
“From the very beginning we heard people loving the name of the store, and it helps take people’s walls down a little bit,” Simonson says. “That’s pretty important when you’re talking about tech. There’s one thing that I’ve always tried to strive for in my career, and that’s providing the information and the education in a way that’s approachable.”
“The nerds have that skill set, they have the background, the expertise,” King says. “But also, it doesn’t have to be something that is intimidating or cost-prohibitive.”
King recalls one of the technicians bonding with a customer over music recently.
“There’s a way of connecting with people and really finding commonalities with your customers outside of the need for technology,” says King, who plays guitar as a hobby.
“This isn’t just about technology, it’s about a service to the people,” Simonson says. “It can be intimidating for people as they’re getting their feet wet with the ever-growing and rapidly expanding realm that is technology. Sometimes just finding a common ground or a common interest with your client or customer while you’re in a service call or just in the store chitchatting, it breaks the ice. It keeps things light.
Customers interested in NerdsToGo can check the website, call, or walk in (and might even be greeted by King’s rescue dog, Rozzy)
“We welcome people that if they drive through and they see our sign and they want to come in, we’re here,” King says.
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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