When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic. What do you do when your phone breaks down? Thanks to two business administration graduates, there is now a place to take them in West Michigan. Jordan Notenbaum, '10 and Garry VonMyhr, '10 give cell phone, tablet, and iPod owners a new alternative to an expensive upgrade if their device breaks down. Their new business, Genius Phone Repair in Grandville, serves customers with any plan, contract, or device.
Notenbaum's fascination with small devices started in elementary school when he would repair and modify small handheld game devices such as Gigapet and Digimon games. While studying marketing and finance at Grand Valley State University, he began fixing phones for family and friends. As word of his tech savvy got around, more and more devices started showing up on his fix-it list. So he enlisted the help of two college buddies. "I took on Garry [VonMyhr] and Steve [Barnes] and we decided it was time to go for the gold," said Notebaum.
The trio set up shop on Wilson Avenue in Grandville in July of 2011 and their business has been growing ever since. VonMyhr, who studied finance at Grand Valley, takes care of the Genius corporate accounts and manages the business' finances. Before venturing out as an entrepreneur, he was working as a financial advisor for Waddell & Reed. After about a year of employment, he began helping Notenbaum with their business. "I always wanted to be a business owner,"VonMyhr said.
"My education at GVSU helped pave the way for me to own my own business. It equipped me with tools to succeed." Since the shop opened last summer, the team has hired an additional six technicians. Having more employees allows Notenbaum to focus on the more problematic repairs as well as the marketing plan for the business. Together, the team fixes everything from broken screens to water damage and also offers jailbreaking and rooting services which give their customers access to more apps and allows them to customize their device.
In May 2012, they opened their second store near Knapp and East Beltline. The team hopes to open more stores and eventually franchise Genius Phone Repair. In addition to repairs and modifications, they also buy and sell used mobile devices and soon might offer insurance plans of their own. Both Notenbaum and VonMyhr attribute their business sense and motivation to Grand Valley. The planning strategies and high expectations that they learned from the university have helped them create the successful business they run today.
"If you don't demand excellence, you will never achieve it," Notenbaum said.
Since opening in 2011, Genius Phone Repair has expanded to include 6 locations in West Michigan.
Updated April, 2014.