St. Michael residents have a new companion in the journey through the digital age, as Techmate has opened its doors in the retail space next to Distractions Bar and Grill in the heart of the community.
Featuring the brother-duo of Andrew and Dan Nickel, Techmate offers a wide variety of tools for the tech-savy and the digital “dummy,” from computer and tablet repair to “bug removal” and technical support for small business.
“I think one of the things we stress is that we’re here to do what’s best for the customer, to meet their needs first,” Dan said. “If they need something complex like a server set up for a small business to anchor their home network, we have guys that can do that. If they’ve got a cracked screen on a tablet or iPad, we can do repairs like that, too. The idea was to offer a variety of services that people can finally get right here in town, instead of having to drive to Rogers or Maple Grove.”
And the goal, also, was to do it at an affordable price. Andrew, who manages the retail side, said much of the stock is geared toward “family friendly” set-ups. Chargers and docking stations in supply are perfect for homes where mom and dad might be sharing their tablet with the children from time to time.
“If you damage an iPad charger and you head down to the Apple Store or another retailer, you might be out 30 bucks or more. The idea was to offer items that are bit less expensive but still have the quality to provide you with what you need from that accessory.”
The two have hired a couple of employees to help grow the business, as well. Pete Banks works in repair, and has used social media to find new clients looking for help with their broken computer or tablet. Tim Saeger, meanwhile, is Dan’s right-hand-man when it comes to the tech support area.
The venture really started, Dan said, after he lost his home in St. Michael to a fire about 18 months ago. He was running his business out of the home, and “lost everything.”
With the help of his family, friends and some customers, Dan was able to start over, and decided to do so in “shop setting” because he didn’t want to mix work and home any more – and he wanted to expand his business with the help of his brother, Andrew.
Andrew said he came from the East Coast back to Minnesota because he believes in his brother, and he saw the opportunity to grow a business in a community like St. Michael too great to pass up.
“People really support other people who take a chance and try to provide a local service here, so that’s one of the things I really liked about the idea of doing this in this community. And the response so far has been just great. People are exited know we’re here and we have these services both for their home businesses or just entertainment,” Andrew said.
Knight Armour Makes a Move to Techmate
Joining the crew will be Lori Haakenson, who has moved her Knight Armour Apparel setup from Goin’ Postal – which went out of business – over to Techmate this week.
“It’s really exciting and we’re ready to go,” she said. “It was great to find a space so quickly.”