By Sarah Walker
A passion for exceptional customer service has seen Stockton firm iStation outgrow its premises – and become one of the first third party Apple support companies in the UK to be named an Apple Independent Repair Provider.
The family-run company, owned by Bryan Holmes, has moved from Silver Street to Wellington Square after seeing an increase in business customers of up to 70 per cent since it was established in 2014.
iStation’s significant investment in its new store includes state-of-the-art workshop facilities, a training room and meeting room for business customers who want to meet and use Apple technology in a town centre location, along with business and retail customer support areas.
Bryan, who started the business in 2014 after spending more than 30 years working in the IT industry for big names like Hewlett Packard, Shell and BP, said: “Our business-specific services such as device supply, leasing, installation, support and maintenance allow us to provide a one-stop-shop for all Apple solutions.
“Partnering and being certified with many Apple recognised hardware and software vendors enables us to deliver the right solution for the needs of businesses.
“Our biggest focus is high quality customer service and we are big on giving the customer the best experience we can.
“If you visit our dedicated page at Apple.com, the reviews that we get from customers reflect our commitment to customer service.
“We are a family-run business and both my wife, operations director Kelly, and I are out there on a daily basis talking to customers and creating the right impression and service that our customers have come to expect.”
Since 2014, the company has been a member of the Apple Consultants Network, made up of independent specialists offering IT services and solutions based around Apple products.
Boasting three certified Apple consultants and with more on the horizon, iStation is already the only Apple-approved business consultancy in the Tees region, with the nearest to the south towards Liverpool and the next northern neighbour in Newcastle.
It now launches from its Wellington Square premises as an Apple Independent Repair Provider offering genuine Apple parts sourced from Apple, and using Apple diagnostics, tools and processes to make sure Apple repairs are done safely and reliably.
The business has certainly come a long way since Bryan started the business from home almost seven years ago.
Within two months of setting up in 2014, the firm moved to an office in Digital House, Stockton and increased its offering to members of the general public.
In October 2016, iStation moved to a retail site where the firm could run the business-to-business side but also have a shop front.
Initially, it only carried out repairs and provided IT support, but the business soon bowed to customer demand and started selling new and renewed products.
“That’s where the retail side of the business has really grown,” said Bryan.
“It’s got bigger and bigger over the years and also helps to introduce us to more business-to-business customers.”
Like many IT firms, during the first lockdown, iStation was certainly kept busy with its business customers, many of whom needed help to move their technology home.
The charitable company also supported the provision of 200 iPads to Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, which distributed them to healthcare settings where loved ones were unable to visit poorly or elderly relatives, but could contact them via Zoom instead.
Bryan believes that supporting charities and being customer-focused pays off for iStation, which gets the majority of its work by recommendation.
Thanks to its growth, Bryan is looking forward to taking on four extra staff serving both the retail and technical side of the business.
“We’ve moved to a bigger site and we’ve used the lockdown period to get it 100 per cent the way we want it,” said Bryan.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming new staff and customers, both business professionals and fans of Apple products alike.”
For more details visit istationonline.co.uk email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01642 450246.