Pros on call at Creston computer shop

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(From left) Ian Richardson

(From left) Ian Richardson

With technology advancing and changing from one day to the next, keeping up with it can be daunting. Fortunately, help is available at Pro-to-Call.

The 1134 Canyon St. shop offers custom computers, accessories, maintenance and repairs — as well as training to help customers make the most of their equipment.

“We give them that time,” said owner Kitt Santano, seated at a workbench under a full-wall projection of an extensive list of upcoming and completed work orders.

Now in its fifth year, the business has changed significantly. Originally simply a repair shop below Griffith Surveys, Pro-to-Call expanded and moved downtown with the support of Santano’s wife (then girlfriend), Natalie, who has her own business, Natalie Santano Photography.

“My wife saw my passion and dream, and helped me get where I needed to go,” said Santano.

At the time, he worked at Kootenay Employment Services and operated Pro-to-Call part-time, but Natalie’s encouragement led Santano to add sales to the business, and pursue that full-time.

It was a logical extension of an interest Santano developed as a teenager.

“I used to take apart washers, dryers, toasters,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in the electronic aspect. And I like the ever-changing aspect. That’s what really interests me.”

The expansion allowed Santano to hire a staff, who are Microsoft A+ certified, and add a retail space, which gives him the ability to offer products that have been previously unavailable in Creston, including tablets.

“It’s something I’ve been asked a lot for, so we’ve taken that step,” he said. “People want diversity in Creston.”

For Pro-to-Call, that diversity extends to security camera installation, but not to Apple computers. Santano doesn’t share the strong reaction of many PC users who dislike the competition, but becoming a certified Apple repair location would have involved making many changes to fall in line with that company’s standards. However, as he pointed out, 96 or 97 per cent of the industry uses PCs.

The back room of the shop has a large table typically covered with computers under repair, but customers who can’t make it to the shop aren’t left out — when needed, Pro-to-Call technicians have the ability to access computers remotely to conducts repairs.

“If they do have issues, we just get in there and take care of it,” said Santano.

And he is so confident that he and his staff can get the job done, one of the most enjoyable parts of his job is to talk to customers to hear what they have to say.

“One of my favourite things — and people think I’m crazy — I call a person and say, ‘How are you doing? How is the work we’ve done?’ ”