- Comments: 11
- Written on: July 19th, 2010
It took a while for us to find just the right location, but after a lot of searching and negotiating Schrock Innovations will be locating its new Omaha Service Center at 168th and Burke in the Village Pointe South Development.
Village Point South is just across the street form the large Village Point Mall at 168th and Dodge. Some of our technology neighbors include Best Buy and the Apple Store.
Schrock will be occupying 2 bays in the development for a total of 2,400 square feet.
No More Moving!
Our Omaha customers might remember that we launched our first Omaha Service Center in 2003. Following the same model that has brought success in the Lincoln, NE market, we chose to advertise with a weekly radio show on Magic 590 AM.
Our first year was a success and we started hiring more employees and expanding the array of services we offered in Omaha. In the midst of our expansion, we received notice that Magic 590 was going to flip formats to become a sports talk station, and our show was canceled as a result.
We worked on a few other advertising mediums, but nothing produced like our radio show did. Eventually we were forced to lay off most of our Omaha staff and eventually, we closed our physical Omaha location and serviced our customers on-site exclusively in Omaha.
This new location is a 5-year lease and was selected specifically for its location and proximity to other technology companies who we already know we can outperform with our award-winning customer service.
New Radio Show
I make lots of mistakes, but I always learn from them. I knew there was only one AM station in Omaha that was going to bring the success that we needed to support a new Omaha Service Center, and that station was 1110 KFAB.
But getting on KFAB is not as easy as calling a sales rep and asking how much. When we lost our Magic 590 show we sent demo CDs into KFAB only to be turned down.
You have to understand that stations like KFAB are approached every day by people who want radio shows. Some are serious, and some are not, but most do not have any radio experience whatsoever. KFAB is a market leader and they need to have quality talent on their airwaves at all times.
After we were rejected in 2003 by KFAB I went to work honing my radio abilities on our Lincoln affiliate, KFOR 1240 AM. Things started going so well that in late 2009 KFOR and I developed a new 3-hour weekend show called the Living Digital Show.
With a LOT more experience under my belt and a home-based studio to boot, we approached KFAB again and they agreed to grant us a 1-year contract for Compute This on KFAB.
The new show starts August 1, 2010 and airs every Sunday morning between 7-8 AM.
Our new bay is a bare shell. It has never had any other business in it before, so that means we get to design the space to meet our unique needs. I may be good with computers, but I am definately not a measure twice cut once kind of guy. We needed a General contractor to keep our build out on track.
We plan on signing a letter of intent with a contractor tomorrow and we should be open for business by September.
Since our radio show starts in August and the shop won’t be ready until September, we have hired employees to do free pickups, drop-offs and on-site appointments in the meantime.
Nothing Like Schrock in Omaha
The thing that makes me excited the most is that there are no other companies like Schrock Innovations in Omaha. There are lots of places to get your computer fixed, but there are no service-leaders.
I am confident that our blend of ultra-talented technicians, radio fun (and a little marketing), and the Schrock dedication to customer service that we will do well in Omaha. Stay tuned for the grand opening party coming in September 🙂
- Comments: 14
- Written on: April 27th, 2010
Omaha, NE is a very different beast from Lincoln, NE. Everything is more expensive, less available, and more regulated.
Despite the challenges, Schrock Innovations is planning a massive expansion into Omaha in 2010. Replicating what we have done in Lincoln for $850,000 we are planning to spend nearly $1.9 million to establish a presence in Omaha.
Didn’t Schrock Already Have an Omaha Location?
Schrock Innovations entered Omaha in 2004 with a small 1,500 sq foot expansion office on 84th and Maple Street. We had a radio show on the lightly listened to KOMJ Magic 590 AM, and we managed to generate a profitable first year of operation with a light staff and a lot of small-ticket repair work.
In 2006, Magic 590 was flipped to an all-sports format and re-branded as Big Sports 590. We lost our radio show, and with it the only means of marketing that we had cultivated in Omaha.
We tried to move to KKAR 1290, but after 6 months of radio we only had 2 new customers to show for it. KFAB did not have any available air slots, so we cut our losses and killed the Omaha radio show.
From a financial perspective we should have rolled up the Omaha physical location right then and there. From a moral perspective the right thing to do was to keep the store open to service the hundreds of warranties we had sold on new Modular PCs.
We tried to hedge our losses by locating our web development staff in Omaha and moving the location to a lower rent area on 93rd and Maple.
Our lease on that location expired in October of 2009, and our landlord had the opportunity to lease to a longer term tenant. I was not willing to sign a long-term lease in that space, so we rolled up the location in November 2009 and went to 100% mobile service in Omaha.
What is Going to Be Different This Time?
In a word, everything. The most basic barometer is money and the #1 reason our first entry into Omaha didn’t become a permanent fixture was capitalization.
On our original expedition into Omaha we spent just under $200,000 and managed to cross break even on all start-up costs by mid 2007. When we lost the radio show we did not have the time to develop and cultivate a new advertising medium while maintaining basic services.
This time we are entering the market with a few more factors on our side. First, we are capitalized. We are not borrowing one single penny to make this happen in Omaha.
Second, we have a primary and a secondary advertising medium developed and ready to launch. One model should be enough to gain penetration rapidly, but if it fails or falls short, we have a backup plan that we have been testing successfully in Lincoln for months.
Third, we have a staffing plan that will allow us to add new people to our Lincoln Service Center and train them there and then move some of our existing employees into the new Omaha Service Center to assist and train our new Omaha staff. This “culture graft” will help us maintain our normal service-focused edge as we bring in new people who may have been trained as technicians instead of service providers in the past.
When and Where Will it Be Opening?
We have narrowed our possible locations down to two possibilities – Village Point Mall at 168th and West Dodge Road, and The Shoppes at Legacy at 184th and West Center.
We are targeting September, 2010 as the opening date for the Service Center.
I will have more updates as we lock things in, but all in all this has been a VERY busy month and should be an interesting 4th quarter as well 🙂
- Comments: 3
- Written on: October 25th, 2009
Schrock Innovations opened its Omaha Service Center in 2003. Due in large part to its local Omaha radio show, the service center was an overnight success.
Unfortunately, the station we were on flipped formats and we were not able to find another Omaha AM station that could match the success we initially had.
As many of our Omaha customers know, we regouped by concentrating all of our technical operations in Lincoln while focusing all of our web development services in Omaha. This allowed us to maintain a token presence in Omaha and honor the warranties we had issued and service the customers who placed their trust in us.
In early 2009, we moved into our new $825,000 Service Center in Lincoln and found that the simple change in visibility DOUBLED our sales and profitability overnight. That Service Center is now bringing in over 62 new customers each and every month.
Omaha’s Time Has Come
With all of our efforts going toward staffing, equipping, and launching our new Lincoln location, Omaha went without significant attention for over 12 months.
That is all about to change now.
Yesterday was the last day that our present Omaha location was open for business. We have closed the Omaha location at 3032 N. 93rd and transferred all web development services to competent staff in Lincoln.
We are still honoring our warranties and serving our Omaha customers – we are just bringing our service to them rather than making them come in to us.
New Service Center in the Works
I can’t say too much about it at the moment, but I can tell all of our Omaha customers that a new Service Center is in the works. This location will operate similarly to our famed Lincoln location with one notable exception.
This location will be geared toward mobile repair services rather than in-shop repair.
Our new location is tentatively set to open for business in the late first quarter of 2010.
Award Winning Service COntinues in Omaha
If you are a Schrock Omaha customer, you can still call our local Omaha phone number, 934-9423, and we will schedule an appointment that works with your schedule to come to your home or business to repair your PC or to take it back to our Lincoln Service Center for repair.