Kristen Robinson had a dilemma when her cellphone and hand got smashed as she was closing the sliding door on her van.
About an hour later, around 9 p.m., her daughter, Baylee, messaged TekHead LLC on Facebook to see if the phone could be fixed.
The next morning, Baylee went to the shop at 117 W. Second St. in downtown Seymour to have owner Tanner Belcher make the repairs.
By 7:30 a.m., Kristen had her phone back in hand.
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“Talk about good customer service,” she said.
Jamie Walker was on the phone with iTunes tech support for two hours, and they couldn’t help her.
She posted about her issue on Facebook and was guided to Belcher.
“He fixed my phone in five minutes, was awesome, didn’t charge me anything and just asked for me to give him a good review,” Walker said.
Danielle Richey’s iPads, Kelli Moore’s cracked iPhone screen and Kathy Hohenstreiter’s iPads and iPhones all have been repaired by Belcher, too.
Since opening Aug. 30, Belcher has found the niche that Seymour and the surrounding area needed — screen repair, virus removal, diagnostics, cellphone, computer and tablet repair and buy/sell/trade.
He said he is happy to be able to set up shop in his hometown.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” the 23-year-old said. “I know a lot of people here, so it has definitely helped the business. I try to do the best job I can possibly do. It’s not about me. It’s about the customer. … I know what it feels like to have a broken device and want stuff off of it. I love being able to help people out and get them fixed up and working again.”
Growing up in Seymour, Belcher said he developed an interest in computers when he was in middle school.
“I’ve always worked on computers, always messed with them, tore them apart, put them back together, did software, that kind of thing,” he said.
“I had a couple of desktop computers. I didn’t want them to run as slow as they were running. I wanted them to run faster,” he said. “I just kind of taught myself to clean computers, make them fast, add parts to make them faster, that kind of thing.”
The more work he did on computers, the more skills he picked up and the faster he could do it.
“Now, I know exactly what I need to do on those things,” he said. “There are new issues all of the time, but that’s just kind of the industry. On most things, when people come in here, I know pretty much exactly what I need to do before they even tell me the history of the device.”
In high school, he started working on cellphones after someone asked him to fix their screen.
“Most of it was just delving into it myself and kind of just learning the aspects in and out of the phone and then software, too,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve learned the skills of being able to tear them apart and put them back together and know how they work.”
Phones, however, have much smaller parts, so it requires more delicate work.
“They both have circuit boards, but phones are on another complete level being small, almost microscopic,” Belcher said. “I do board-level repair, and I have to use a microscope that has 10-times zoom. Very, very tiny pieces.”
Among the things he can fix on phones are charge ports, home buttons, screens, batteries and water damage.
“I have about 85, 90 percent success rate on water damage,” Belcher said. “All kinds of factors come into effect on that — how long it has been water damaged, did you try to plug it in and turn it on, what kind of water, all that kind of stuff.”
Some cellphones are water-resistant, not waterproof, Belcher said.
“It does feel pretty awesome when you can revive a water-damaged phone from the dead that doesn’t charge, doesn’t turn on at all and shows no signs of life and they need their data and precious pictures or something,” he said. “You’re not supposed to be able to revive stuff from water, so it’s a pretty good feeling when something like that happens.”
In repairing a screen, Belcher said he has to be careful.
“You can definitely ruin the phone by not putting things back where they should be going,” he said. “It’s definitely an organization thing. If you’re not organized with it, you’re going to tear something up.”
Even as cellphones are upgraded on a regular basis, Belcher said working on them doesn’t change much.
“They’ve all got the same idea behind them,” he said. “Yeah, they upgrade certain parts and stuff, but they don’t change too much inside. They’ve got pretty much the same layout and that kind of thing. They just upgrade them a little bit with the power and that kind of thing.”
Belcher also has repaired guitar amplifiers, a drone and printers. With printers, though, he said it’s expensive to replace parts, so he usually recommends that people just go buy a new one.
If people bring in other electronics, Belcher said he will determine if he can fix them.
“I will definitely take a look at it and see if it’s something that can be replaced,” he said. “Some things just aren’t worth it, and some things are just so difficult at replacing because they are done by machines, so I will tell you, ‘Hey, this is not worth it.’ I’m not going to get in over my head.”
Knowing how to solder and measure voltages has allowed Belcher an opportunity to fix a variety of things. Soldering is kind of like welding on a smaller scale, he said.
“If you’re going to work with circuit boards, you need to know how to solder,” he said. “That has definitely opened up a lot of repairs to me.”
He honed in on his soldering skills while working for a business when he was attending college in Muncie.
“I was the go-to guy that did all of the soldering work,” he said. “I got a manager position in my own store within three months of starting there.”
Earlier this year, he began thinking about starting his own electronics repair business in Seymour, so he contacted Becky Schepman, executive director of Seymour Main Street. They walked around downtown to explore what was available.
A couple of months later, he learned about Katie Potts retiring and closing her business, Global Travel Planners.
Belcher found that building to be a good fit, so he and his family spent nearly a month working to get it ready to open.
Once the doors were open and Belcher spread the word on social media, it took off.
“I didn’t know how it was going to go,” he said. “It ended up going really well the first few weeks, so it definitely helped out, definitely a confidence-booster.”
So far, he said he has closed more than 400 tickets.
“That’s not including the 17 I have open and people who come in with a simple fix that I don’t charge for,” Belcher said.
He also buys electronics that are broken and will fix and resell them.
He currently is working on a contract to become an authorized dealer for new devices and hopes to have that within the next couple of months.
TekHead already offers cellphone accessories, including tempered glass, cases and chargers, and is an approved retailer for PopSockets, which are collapsible grips and stands for phones.
Once he reaches a certain amount of annual sales, Belcher said his goal is to open a second location in the area.
“Hopefully get to the point where we can start franchising, that would be awesome,” he said.
TekHead LLC is an electronics repair business at 117 W. Second St. in downtown Seymour.
Owner Tanner Belcher offers screen repair, virus removal, diagnostics, cellphone, computer and tablet repair and buy/sell/trade.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.