By Sue Moore
Who is the geek and who is the genius in this new business recently located on 103 W. Prairie in Vicksburg? “Most people associate our business of repairing computers and phones with geeks, thus the name we chose,” said Chad Ely, one of the co-owners of Geek Genius which also has an office in Three Rivers. Knute Judsen, a computer jockey since high school, is the other owner, Ely said.
“You can’t go to school for this job. Every day is a learning experience, but it’s all stuff we are interested in so it’s fun for us,” Ely explained. “We started as a web design and hosting company in 2003 in the corner of a basement in a manufacturing facility in Three Rivers,” where both currently reside. “People started to stop by to have us fix their computers. Word got around. We hired a few guys and moved up above a coffee shop. Our first employee was 6’5” tall and in a space that was a glorified closet.”
It doesn’t take long to figure out the business model had to constantly adjust to accommodate the latest technology for phones, tablets and computers. “When it was slow in the beginning we would work a few hours and then just hang out with Knute’s dog who has become our mascot. Things started picking up and we moved into web site design as well as fixing computers and cell phones.”
Knute’s specialties are server maintenance and salesman extraordinaire. He’s always got his laptop with him so he can take care of clients from any place on the planet. “I couldn’t ask for a better business partner. We are like brothers now,” Ely said.
After they graduated from Three Rivers high school in 1993, both went into military service. Knute went into the Marines as a missile systems operator. Ely trained as a Army tank and ground vehicle refueler. He had always wanted to be a designer so after the service, he went to Chicago to the Illinois Institute of Art.
They eventually opened an office in a Texas Corners strip mall which they closed upon the move to Vicksburg. “We don’t sell computers or phones. We try to build relationships, even before people become our customers. The iPhone was a game changer for the business,” Ely said. He pointed to cracked screens, phones that had been dropped into water that were in the Vicksburg office for repair by Corey or David, who are great trouble shooters.
Security is a huge deal today. “We excel in keeping up with security on the sites we host so they don’t get hacked.” Viruses can be prevented, he warns. “Don’t click on sites you are not sure about or links that look fishy. There are lots of scams on Craig’s list that can cause virus problems. No one will know you have a virus but you. Just don’t give access to your computer to anyone on the phone.
They are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone number is 269-350-3491.