Not a nerd

Aaron Hall

Photo By Tom Gascoyne

Aaron Hall, who originally hails from Yuba City, came to call Chico his home after graduating from Chico State University and deciding not to move away. He and business partner Patrick J. Montplaisir own PCI Computer Services, Inc., in the Garden Walk Mall in downtown Chico. The business opened five years ago next February and has prospered, in Hall’s words, “all through word of mouth—no advertising.” We caught up with Hall for this interview just as a sales rep from a local ad agency was trying to sign him up as a client. But then why would he buy ads when he gets this free publicity?

I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but are you a computer nerd?

We prefer geek. I grew up with computers and have always been around them.

Are you a gamer?

Oh, yeah.

What’s the best game out there right now?

It’s a three-way tie with Doom III, Half-Life II and Far Cry.

How is this location here in the Garden Walk Mall?

Well, it was kind of a crazy long shot when we first started, but it paid off. We’re just regular guys who enjoy what we are doing. I’m a college grad with a media-arts/communications-design degree, so I could be wrapping cables at FOX 30 for minimum wage or I could be making money doing this.

How did you get the funding to get the business off the ground?

Um, we didn’t have any money. We basically started with four empty walls. Then a customer would come in and buy a computer from us, and the profit we made from that one computer we’d use to buy a couple of pieces of inventory, and after selling a couple more computers we had a couple more pieces of inventory.

Do you have a lot of repeat customers?

Oh, definitely.

Who is your competition?

Computers Plus on the Skyway. He is an advertiser in your guys’ magazine.

Anything you want people to know about your business?

Just that we’ve got the best prices and the best service in the city.