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 The Computer Buzz September 9th, 2010     


Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Factory

Where Did We Come From?

Nome and I grew up in Wayne County Indiana. We lived in farming communities ten miles apart but didn’t meet until we were in our twenties. I had served a hitch in the Marine Corps and was working my way through college as an Industrial Engineer at Belden Corp, a wire and cable manufacturer in Richmond, Indiana. Nome was a “stripper,” a wire stripper that is. She was one of my first time study subjects and the only person in the factory that could run two wire-stripping machines at the same time. My job was to set “piecework” rates for her job. She instantly saw in me a person who could positively influence her standard of living and I quickly recognized her earnings potential. It was a match made in heaven. We were married in 1965.

By the time Nome got me through college we had four children. While the kids grew up my engineering and management career took us from Indiana to Florida, Minnesota, Canada, Silicon Valley, and finally, to Southern California where I ran manufacturing companies and Nome finished raising our children.

With the children grown, Nome and I began to work together as consultants to manufacturing companies. In 1995 we helped sell a PC maker “Vision Technologies,” to an Asian conglomerate “BTC.” The Asians wanted the “Vision” name and distribution channels but not the factory inventory. We formed a partnership with the owner of “Vision” to open a retail “factory outlet” to sell off the inventory.

Nome and I set up the retail store but neither of us had any retail experience. We tended to accept the customer’s point of view so we were a “user defined” business. It fit us like a glove. Within six months we had decided to stay in the business and bought out our partner.

Today we are the largest independent computer store in San Diego County. We still pretty much let our customers run things. Most of the computers we build today are for commercial and industrial customers but we still build a lot of computers for home users.

Computer FactorySome people like the glass and steel anonymity of the electronics “superstores” like Fry’s or Best Buy and the white shirted retail clerks with the “yes sir, no sir three bags full, sir” routine. Our informality and friendliness make some folks uncomfortable and that’s OK with us. Sometimes it’s a bit messy in our store too. If the health department would let us, we’d have a cracker barrel, a pot bellied stove and a cuspidor.

In our store you can talk to the person who actually built or fixed your PC. If you need information in order to make a decision on upgrading or buying a computer, it is always freely given. We figure that the better-informed folks are, the more likely they are to choose us to provide their computer solutions.





 
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