After 20 years as a utility craftsman, and four years as a mechanical supervisor at an agricultural processing plant, Chris Thomas is starting a new career, with gusto. In August, with no special computer knowledge, he opened a franchise of Experimac, an Apple-based buy, sell, trade and repair store at 1354 East Ave., Ste. S. Thomas, 46, hopes Experimac provides a vital tech service to Chico. Find him on Facebook (search “Mac Chico”), online at experimac.com/chico-ca or call him at 809-4088.
What inspired you to change your career?
Well, I’m still a plant mechanical supervisor, but I wanted to fill what I saw as a great need in our community. My kids and I had bought computer products online from places like Craigslist, eBay and OfferUp, but never knew if they were stolen. There was never any warranty on them and my kids got burned, so I was fed up.
What does Experimac offer?
We buy, sell, repair or trade mostly Apple products. If they’re not in working order, we refurbish them. We are iFixit-certified and give a standard 90-day warranty, which can be extended up to five years.
Were you a big techie before you started Experimac?
No, just a regular owner of an Apple smartphone and a Mac who found the Experimac chain online and saw it as a great way to bring Apple devices to our community.
What do people like most about your business?
Our prices and the fact that they can buy “refreshed” Apple products with a warranty from a trusted, local business. You don’t have to meet some seller in a dark alley, or anonymously online. Our hottest seller is the iMac desktop with a big, 27-inch monitor. But most of our business comes from repairing iPhones.
How did you attain the necessary skills?
I went to the two-week Experimac training in Florida with my manager. It was like going to college for eight hours a day, five days a week, with homework. Then an Experimac trainer spent two weeks here in the store showing us the ropes. Afterward, I felt confident in my knowledge.
You’re also a football coach?
Yes, I’ve been the Pleasant Valley High linebackers and running backs coach for the freshmen for two years. I’ve been a coach for 20 years altogether, and have always had a passion for training, coaching and watching the kids grow in confidence. I’ve played football and softball, but really love football.
Why should people buy from you versus getting it new?
Apple products are not cheap, and people save an average of 60 percent buying refreshed devices versus new. We’re the next best thing to an Apple store. If you don’t want to drive to Roseville, which has the nearest one, come here.