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After 30 years, computer repair service still ‘about people’
WILBRAHAM – The small shop at 2785 Boston Rd. in Wilbraham is filled with shelving racks on which customers’ devices sit. There isn’t much space to move around in the small rooms, but the areas are used efficiently. Anywhere that isn’t taken up by electronic equipment is occupied by posters and models of various sci-fi franchises, mostly Star Wars.
“We’re all geeks,” said owner Aristeo Torres. The quirky nature of the shop belies the expertise of Torres, his partner Jan Macon and the five technicians that work under Torres’s tutelage at POST Computer Systems. The word POST in the business’s name is an acronym that stands for “power-on, self-test,” a diagnostic testing sequence that is used in computer repair.
POST Computer Systems began 30 years ago in Torres and Macon’s basement. Torres had the technological know-how, while Macon was the business manager. Since then, Torres has taught Macon about computers and he said she now specializes in data retrieval. Today, the company has over 10,000 customers in its database.
“Service is what we do,” Torres said. “We’re in it for fixing things. If it can’t be fixed, we’ll tell them,” Torres said. “This is about people.”
POST Computer Systems also sells equipment, including brands like Nexlink, Lenovo and HP. The prices are a little higher than what one would find at a big box store, Torres said the quality is higher and includes better customer service.
Torres said the technicians at POST are trained to go “above and beyond just plugging it in and saying, ‘Okay, it works.’ We’re all about, ‘what do you need to do with the machine? Are you starting a business? Do you need tools for that business?’”
While Torres prides himself on helping individuals with computer needs, he said, “Small business is where we shine.”
Once POST has helped with setting up a business’s technology needs, it works with that company to keep them up to date and running. “We’re out in the field every day,” Torres said of his technicians. POST Computer Systems will service customers in a roughly 25-mile radius around Springfield.
POST’s website, https://www.pocosys.com, even has a tab that reads, “Help!” for remote support, a service Torres explained is only for existing customers.
While POST still repairs computers, Torres said, “In today’s world, it’s more about security.” Torres said 10 to 15 years ago, viruses existed but were not as ubiquitous as they are now. He said the shop sees at least one customer each day with problems related to scams and traps.
Torres shared three separate customers recently came in after losing $8,000, $7,500 and $17,500, respectively. The Police Department was unable to help retrieve lost money from another customer but sent her to POST to help get the computer back up and running securely and salvage what data they could. “The people who are doing this are truly evil,” Torres said.
The technicians at POST, including one who is a military veteran trained in cybersecurity, will work to retrieve data deleted or locked out by scammers. Torres said that while they are not always successful, “Nine out of 10 times, we can save the data.”
Education is key to preventing scams and hacks, Torres said. Most people who fall victim to scam artists and hackers are not computer savvy. He said the elderly are scammers’ primary targets, but businesses also fall prey to attempts to access networks. Torres offered a few simple tips to keep computer systems safe:
If you don’t know the person, don’t talk to them on social media.
If you receive a suspicious call, just hang up.
If you see something concerning, turn off the computer.
And Torres’s number one rule, “Don’t let anyone but me and my team into your computer.”
POST Computer Systems has partnered with Top Floor Learning in Palmer to offer computer and security classes for individuals. The business has also taught seminars at local companies on how to protect themselves from hackers. Torres said network breaches are most frequently due to an employee clicking something they should not have.
Torres doesn’t see the need for computer repair becoming obsolete anytime soon. “As long as you’re pushing papers, you’re using computers,” he said. The business has also kept up with changing technology. When POST Computer Systems opened, the primary devices they worked on were desktops. Now the shelves are filled with laptops, as well as tablets and cellphones.
Smart devices are, “a self-inflicted addiction,” Torres said, adding that people are married to their devices, but “don’t want to know about them, they just want them to work.” Torres said some of the newer technicians are better with smart phones than he is, but between the employees and owners, someone working there can fix most equipment.
“I think we’re going to be needed for a long time,” Torres assured.
POST Computer Systems can be reached at 596-5177.