by Becky Harvey
OXFORD - The world of computers and technology is one in which the landscape is always changing. Things are fast paced and ever-reconfiguring, so it is nice when a local business that deals with these technologies is able to get a strong foothold and keep up with the moving times. Up and Running Technology of Oxford is one of these small businesses that has been able to create a real place for itself. Owner Mederic Harnois has managed to offer a great service to the people of the Oxford area, both keeping up with current technologies and offering very competitive pricing.
With what was once just a hobby, Harnois began his career as a manager of a local radio shack. He had always loved playing around with computers, fixing them, and seeing how they worked. His expertise was soon recognized by management of then-computer-repair-king Circuit City. He was recruited by them to run the technology and repair department (which was similar to the Best Buy Geek Squad.) While employed by Circuit City, Harnois earned his certification in both A+ and Microsoft. He stayed with the computing giant until the day they closed their doors. With a heavy heart, Harnois wondered how he could continue doing the work he so loved. The very day after the closing, he began taking in work at his home. Up and Running was born and was run out of his garage for just about a year.
March 2009 was the beginning of this small business’s life. After only a year, business was good enough that Harnois was able to move into the Sutton Avenue storefront in which Up and Running Technology now resides. Originally, the plan was to offer services fixing computers only, but in an effort to remain current and relevant, Harnois accepted requests to repair other tech-related items, such as smart phones and game systems. “I was shocked at the growth that came from offering game console repairs. It’s really a needed service and there isn’t anywhere locally that offers it. It made sense to start taking in those kinds of repairs. We can do it a very fair and reasonable price, so why not?”
In addition to computer and gaming repairs, Up and Running Technology offers fixes for smart phones and networking issues. They have the store location where they accept drop-offs, but they also offer home-service, pick-up service and remote service. The home service is done at the same rates as the drop-off, but with a modest $30 additional fee. This service is offered when a repair or fix will take about two hours or less. For anything over that, pick-up service would be suggested. For issues where a customer can still log into his/her computer running Windows, and connect to the Internet, Up and Running Technology offers customers immediate, online fixes via their customer remote portal from their website. This is one way to get a quick resolution without having to lug machinery to the store.
When asked why customers should consider Up and Running Technology over another store, like the big box stores, Harnois said that it was simple: “We’re going to offer the best, most personalized service around at a price that can’t be beat. We are going to give a high level of quality. We also offer free diagnostics, which nobody else does. Best Buy charges a minimum of $100 to pick up a computer, and they don’t offer free diagnostics.” Another service they offer is for local businesses. The company offers different service plans for monthly maintenance in six and twelve month terms. Finally, they have an ever-rotating selection of refurbished technology sales, from computers and laptops, to iPhones and game consoles.
Harnois is a very proud and active member of the Oxford Business Association, which is a local group of small business owners like himself who dedicate their time and efforts to making a difference in the communities in which they operate. As a member of the board, Harnois is excited by the work he and other members have been able to do. Recently, the association has endeavored to plant a substantial number of trees to beautify the town. They also have done all kinds of fundraising to maintain the bandstand, as well as to decorate it seasonally.
For five years, Harnois has managed to keep his Up and Running Technology current and competitive. They say that 75-90 percent of new businesses fail within the first year. It is impressive, especially in a field with such accelerated growth and rates of change, that a business such as this one can not only survive, but thrive in this economy. Even more extraordinary, is that the owner chooses to give back to the community in which he serves.
Up and Running Technology is located at 3 Sutton Ave., in Oxford. Phone 508-444-8778 or go to www.uandrt.com.