Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

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Kim offers affordable knowledge and service

Kim Callow, owner of KC Computers, relies on keen prices and high turnover.

Kim Callow, owner of KC Computers, relies on keen prices and high turnover.

The price of computers may have dropped drastically over the past couple of years, but Kim Callow of KC Computers in London Road knows how to keep his business thriving. “Because prices have halved, we have to sell twice as much in order to stand still,” he told the Voice recently. “We’ve kept prices keen, built up a high turnover, and it’s a system that works. Broadband has really helped the expansion,” says Kim, “Most homes have two or more PCs now, whereas a couple of years ago they only had one. Laptops are also a big growth area, and most people now want flat screen monitors.” Kim has also diversified slightly and now supplies modules for cameras and storage back-ups. Kim has been in the computer business for seven years. He originally trained in environmental health at Middlesex Uni-versity, and to pay his way through Uni he did maintenance work for other students and sold spare parts at auctions. He moved to Hastings in 1999 to work for the Borough Council, and carried on with his computer work in the evenings, troubleshooting and building PCs.             “At the end of my six-month contract, my wife said, ‘You must either do one thing or the other!’ because she hardly ever saw me, so I decided to do solely computer work.” Kim first came to his present premises when it was Edgewood Electrical, in order to do computer work for the owner. He then took a corner of the shop to sell his wares, and when the owner of Edgewood Electrical retired in 2002, Kim bought the premises. In his first year he spent £14,000 on advertising, “because there was lots of competition; but it has all come and gone since.” Kim’s workshop accounts for a third of his business, providing repairs and upgrades.   He also builds all his own systems, and offers a bespoke service.   He supplies Hastings College and all local schools, as well as most local computer businesses. Four years ago Kim opened a new shop a few doors away, selling computer consumables.   His staff currently consists of two full-time shop assistants, Lisa and Cliff, Ray the engineering manager, six engineers, and three Saturday lads. A lot come on work experience or New Deal, and many of the Saturday boys have gone on to do computer courses at Hastings College. “You see a real variety of schoolchildren coming on their work experience week,” says Kim.   “Some will hardly say ‘boo!’ to a goose, and others talk as if they know everything, and you have to hold them back!” 

THE DAY HIS CUSTOMER DIED

Kim told the Voice of a recent drama in his shop, when a customer with a heart problem was taken ill and died after carrying in a heavy computer on a hot day.  “He was actually clinically dead, but a member of staff gave him the kiss of life and a customer pumped up and down on his chest. We were receiving advice over the phone from the ambulance service, and the ambulance was here in four minutes.” The man was successfully revived, and has since been in to thank them.   As a result of the experience, Kim has sent three of his staff on courses and they are now qualified First Aiders.

Tutor and work experience school lad in KC repair shop.

Tutor and work experience school lad in KC repair shop.

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