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ARCHIVED  December 3, 1999

Run PC expands to Longmont

FORT COLLINS — Run PC Inc., a Fort Collins-based computer dealer and reseller, has expanded into Longmont.

Owner and president Jon J. Willig started Run PC Inc. in his dorm room at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1987. Now, he operates a store in Fort Collins at 524 W. Laurel St. and recently opened a second store in Longmont at 1515 Main St.

As fast as computer dealers and resellers have come into the Northern Colorado market, they have left just as quickly. Willig attributes Run PC’s staying power to its emphasis on customer service.

Once a customer purchases a system from Run PC, the company delivers it, sets it up and teaches the customer how to run it. “We give two hours onsite training — that’s pretty unique,” Willig said.

Run PC also works with customers to determine their computer needs. Everything Run PC’s sells is custom-built, and every component is purchased separately. This system allows customers to buy an upgrade for any component, which Run PC will install for free.

“Customers can buy technology based on today’s best value, but upgrade when the state-of-the-art comes down in price and save $400 to $500, instead of buying ahead of their needs,” Willig said.

The strategy seems to be working well. Run PC will record $2.5 million in revenue for 1999 and expects to double that figure next year.

Run PC’s growth led Willig to consider opening a second store. Run PC had established a corporate clientele who wanted to buy more systems than the Fort Collins location, which doubled in size last year, could accommodate.

But, Willig was hesitant about undertaking too much debt to finance any expansion. “All the growth we’ve achieved has been without debt,” he said. “I’ve been pretty conservative as far as growth goes, and that’s part of my success.”

Most of his competitors were undercapitalized, grew too fast or were mismanaged. They ended up going out of business, he said.

In a way, Willig has seen that first-hand. A franchise of Run PC, owned by Willster Electronics but with a substantial investment from Willig, had a space in Longmont’s Twin Peaks Mall and failed. Still, Willig felt that Longmont has a demand for a dealer such as Run PC. The difference this time is that Willig will be in charge of both the Fort Collins and Longmont operations.

Besides Longmont being his childhood home, Willig chose Longmont because “there is very little competition there.

“We thought there was a demand there and no one to fill that demand,” he said.

Lately, Longmont has experienced a decline in computer dealers. “There were three stores that went out of business recently,´ said Donna Currie, owner of B.C. Computer, 633 Frontage Road, in Longmont.

According to her customers, Currie said, the problem at the stores was service. “If you hire the wrong people, customers get ignored or the employees get an attitude,” she said.

Thus far, the Longmont store is doing well without the aid of any marketing or advertising, Willig said. The company plans on airing an ad campaign on television before the holidays with its slogan, “Putting the personal back in PC.”

Although the first experience in Longmont may have made him a little wary of franchises, Willig is investigating the possibility of setting up a Run PC franchise in Carny, Neb.; Laramie, Wyo.; or Greeley, where he still has student representatives selling computers for Run PC.

FORT COLLINS — Run PC Inc., a Fort Collins-based computer dealer and reseller, has expanded into Longmont.

Owner and president Jon J. Willig started Run PC Inc. in his dorm room at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1987. Now, he operates a store in Fort Collins at 524 W. Laurel St. and recently opened a second store in Longmont at 1515 Main St.

As fast as computer dealers and resellers have come into the Northern Colorado market, they have left just as quickly. Willig attributes Run PC’s staying power to its emphasis on customer service.

Once a customer purchases…

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