A new cottage industry of iPhone and other Apple product repairs is thriving in Lafayette. By Heather Miller
America’s most popular smart phone has sparked a handful of new businesses popping up around town, all of which dabble in something Apple doesn’t: repairing iPhones and other Apple products.
“Apple gives a very nice warranty that covers any defects and malfunctions, but if there’s any physical problem, if it looks like it’s been abused or damaged, then they instantly charge you $200 and give you a refurbished phone,” explains Roger Queen, manager of IPhone Repair for Less, an Apple product repair business founded by owner Matthew Brown. “When you get a new car, you’re not obligated to go to the place you bought the car to get it fixed. This gave businesses like us an opportunity to do repairs because Apple didn’t really want to do it.”
Brown’s iPhone repair business, which operates by appointment Monday through Thursday and at the Jockey Lot Flea Market every weekend, shares a local market with at least four other Apple/iPhone repair companies in town: Apple Pie Repair at 4519 Johnston St.; myPhoneMD at 111 Settlers Trace Blvd. in River Ranch; iPhone Repair at 1003 Kaliste Saloom Road, and the older and well-known Apple specialist The Orchard at 4415 Ambassador Caffery.
For Matthew Valentin of Apple Pie Repair, which he says began inside a Lafayette pawn shop two years ago and has since expanded to permanent locations in both Lafayette and Alexandria, the brains behind the business concept was simple: “It’s much cheaper to fix an iPhone than to replace it.”
“It’s just a much-needed service,” says Valentin, who employs a combined 10 people at both locations. “It’s a booming market.”
| “We don’t want to be out of business if anything ever happens to Apple.”
— Matthew Valentin, on why he accepts other brands of smart phones
From motherboards to broken screens to water damage, all stores in town are equipped to handle iPhones, but many go beyond the realm of iPhones and also deal in iPads, iPods and Apple computers.
“Matthew [Brown] started it as a hobby,” Queen says of how Iphone Repair For Less started. “He would customize phones for people, then he just saw the potential in it and we gradually built it from there and turned it into a business. After a few years of doing it, you learn everything there is to know about the product. Now we can fix any problem.”
Unlike most other Apple repair businesses in Lafayette, Valentin says his store accepts other brands of smart phones and computers, which like Apple products can be costly to repair or replace through their manufacturers.
“We don’t want to be out of business if anything ever happens to Apple,” he says.
Of all the products Apple Pie accepts, Valentin says iPhones are by far the most popular.
“iPhones are just too important — and expensive — to replace,” Valentin says.