Oct. 7, 2004 When Alex Pelovitz and a partner opened Computer Solutions in 1984, the computer industry was just getting started. They set up shop as a computer bookkeeping and accounting store and quickly evolved into a retail and service operation. Now, Pelovitz is the sole owner of the oldest computer store in the Virgin Islands, having built or assembled every generation of computer since its inception.
"We used to build our own machines here, and built a lot of them before we started numbering them," said Pelovitz, who estimates he and his staff have provided well over 10,000 machines for the Virgin Islands. "There are lots of our machines out there that are seven, eight, nine years old and are still running. Computer years are like dog years."
These days, the biggest challenges Pelovitz and his staff face are viruses and spyware. "We remove both," he said. "We try to keep the public educated on what it takes to keep their computers up and running." Another part of educating the public includes encouraging people to use surge protectors to save equipment during storms. Pelovitz said after storms there are a lot more repairs to make "because lightening hits telephone lines. We sell a lot of battery backups."
Computers and the industry itself aren't as mystifying to the average user as they used to be, creating some unique challenges in staying competitive. "We've had to constantly upgrade and maintain current skill," Pelovitz said. "The industry changes every three years, so every three years we have to relearn our trade, our craft, and stay on top of it."
Computer Solutions' customers include government departments, Economic Development Commission companies, businesses and generally anyone who is a computer user. Pelovitz and his staff are certified for service and repair with Microsoft, Novell and A+.
"We provide businesses with a 'turn key' system. It means they walk into a fully set-up and operational office as far as computers are concerned," said Pelovitz. There's also a full-blown retail store that has software and ink cartridges, paper, books and computer supplies and a full service center where four full-time technicians can repair "virtually anything," Pelovitz said. "We also do onsite outside network installations and consulting." Customers appreciate the big selection, low prices, and local service.
If there's one bit of advice Pelovitz gives to a potential customer, it's "buy locally. We try to be as competitive in pricing as we can, but where we are not competitive in price, we make up for it in service," he said. "When you buy a Dell online and have a problem with it you have to send it away. We're the same people who sold it to you, and we will make sure it gets fixed locally."
Computer Solutions is located at 78 Flag Drive, Gallows Bay, on St. Croix.
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