Joe Davidson started out helping friends and family find discounted prices on refurbished computers. He later started refurbishing computers himself and began reselling them to some of his contacts at his job. As he slowly became more popular with those that knew him, he worked around his regular work schedule to accommodate their computer needs — hence the name of his soon-to-be company PC AfterDark.
Eventually, as word-of-mouth grew, Joe discovered his part-time work was becoming a full-time job. After his company, based in Doraville, merged with another, Joe decided to open his own store in Kentucky in 1997 with a longtime business partner. The Covington location would soon follow in 2000.
"When we moved here, we saw that there was nothing computer-related close by and those that were had stopped doing residential work," said co-owner Dan Davidson. "That put us in a position to lock down the market, knowing that there has to be customers, commercial and residential, that needed support, service, repairs and networking help. And it just slowly grew from there."
The key difference between PC AfterDark and their competitors is its service after the sale, Davidson said. Where other corporate stores like Best Buy require one to purchase a service plan, PC offers only the manufacturer’s warranty. However, customers can always bring their computer to the store for services without the high fees others would charge.
"Sometimes we help people without charging them anything," Davidson said. "We try to inform them and give them information as to what’s going on, service and repair-wise or even new machines, we try to educate them. We try to bring a hometown and small business feel to the customers."
The staff of PC AfterDark are well trained employees who have experience with common software, extensive service and repair backgrounds, and plenty of on-the-job training for college graduates in need of experience.
"I believe word-of-mouth is our biggest form of advertising," Davidson said. "A lot of times, people recommend us because they have had great service or repairs done at our place. We’re always getting great feedback from customers. A lot of people like to have a face that they can come back to deal with."
The store caters to several local companies and government, like attorneys’ offices and the Chamber of Commerce. Other local electronic stores purchase parts and services from PC AfterDark as well.
Some of the company’s services to the general public include, but are not limited to, point-of-sale systems for networking administration servers, running cables for hardware systems, data recovery and software writing to fit their personal or business criteria.
"I think we are a great staple in this particular community and we do a lot of community work," Davidson said. "We are getting ready to hold a can drive for the food shelter and working with the Rotary Club. So we do a lot of ad work with a lot of schools around here and try to be a part of the community."
We do more volume than any of the local businesses around here," Davidson added. "We get better feedback from customers that have tried the other guys and end up coming back to us. We’re not some company that’s just out to make money. I think that makes a difference to the people who know they can come in here and we’re not going to try to shove a computer down your throat. So I don’t think we’re going anywhere as long as we continue to keep doing what we’re doing."