History of AA Computers, Inc.
In the fall of 1993 Ed Van Kirk and Elbert
Dickerson opened a computer store in a pizza restaurant located in Archdale
, North Carolina. In a time when computer prices were an
Average of $1500 to $2000, Ed and Albert were selling used systems for
$500 and $600 off the counter in the restaurant. The success of these
sales prompted Ed, also the owner of the restaurant, to enclose part of
the basement as a computer store. As word got around of the small
business the customer base grew and more time was needed to properly
run the store. Elbert Dickerson, having his own music business decided
that he'd rather concentrate his time on one business, instead of
spreading himself thin with two. He sold out of his portion of Archdale
Affordable Computers in June of 1994.
Ed also with a business of his own to run
decided to bring his son, Brian Van Kirk, into the business at this
time. Brian was 16 at this time getting ready to enter his junior year
in high school, so with Ed running the pizza business and Brian in
school and team practice after school the business was at best part
time. Since the business wasn't a primary source of income for either
of them, prices stayed reasonable and the lack of overwhelming business
insured a quick turnaround time on service and customer built units.
With both of those factors in play the business could only grow.
By the end of 1994 eighty-hour weeks were
beginning to take their toll on Ed. The business was sold at the end of
1994 to two employees. Ed's knowledge of the business and machinery
used in the business insured the computer store of their spot in the
basement. The business, which prospered under Ed's guidance, so started
to fall apart under its new owners. October of 1995, after only ten
months in business the pizza parlor shut down for good.
In the state of North Carolina one cannot
insure an unoccupied building, so the owner of the building itself
requested that we keep our business up and running. The deal being we
would promise to stay in the building until it was sold and the
computer store in turn would be allowed to move upstairs. The dramatic
increase in space and better location propelled the sales from the fall
all the way into the spring. Ed had taken a job with the maintenance
department of a local furniture company. His hard work and good
attitude insured his quick rise in the international company. With his
promotion to supervisor of the 3 rd shift Ed was able to open the store
the hours that Brian was in school. This marked the first time the
business ever had hours that could be considered full time.
The spring of 96 saw Brian's graduation from
High School. From this point on he'd be working full time in the
business. Business exploded that summer as more time could be invested
into the store. With the arrival of fall Brian returned to school at a
local community college but was still able to open the store by noon.
Ed had returned to 1st shift work with another promotion and was
getting into the store about 5pm each day and working on the weekends.
With his knowledge of business accounting, which he'd learned from
being in business for himself since the age of 16, Ed was able to keep
the business on track and let Brian concentrate on the day to day
running of the business.
The owner of the building came to North
Carolina in the fall of 1996 and informed Ed and Brian that since the
building hadn't sold in the year it had been on the market it must be
do to having the computer occupying it. They were given two months to
vacate the building. As if another's hand was on the situation, a
building opened up for rent just down the road. Opening in November of
1996 in the current location, Archdale Affordable Computers would
double it's sales from those of 96.
AA Computers, Inc. was born in February of
1996. Ed Van Kirk was named as President and Brian Van Kirk as Vice
President. The name change was partially brought on by need to separate
our name from that of a competitor in the neighboring town of High
Point. Too many times confusion had resulted in customers going to the
wrong store and ending up disappointed in the service received.
The fall of 97 presented a new business
opportunity for duo. A computer store was offered for sale in the
nearby town of Lexington
. Never ones to leave an opened door unexplored Lexington
Affordable Computers would open in January of 1998. Brian became the
store manager of the Archdale location and Ed would take over the
Lexington operation. Never able to be set with what was previously
accomplishment and with a need to move to Pennsylvania, Ed would start
laying foundation for a third store in the fall of the same year.
A major stumbling block in growing companies is
the employees. A bad manager can ruin your business, and reputation in
no time at all. Lucky for Brian and Ed, Larry Samuels was around. After
training at the Archdale location with Brian for the technical aspects
of the business during the fall, Larry moved onto the Lexington store
for on site administrative training under Ed. Larry already had many
years of sales experience under himself that has become more and more
evident in the skill in which he runs the Lexington store.
January 1 st , 1999 Affordable Computer of
Pennsylvania opened for business under Ed. This marked the 2 nd store
opening for the corporation in as many years. This store in
Wyomissing Pa was evidently sold by Ed and he focused more on the
aspect of the computer repair business.
Lane Foushee took over management duties in the
Lexington store in the early summer of 2007. Larry focuses now on
outside service as Ed migrated too as well from the Wymossing
store. With now almost a year under his belt the young man has
shown he has the knowledge, customer skills and right idea for business
already. The store has shown constant and improving sales as the
coompetition in the town has thinned out.
In the fall of 2007, Ed moved back to North
Carolina and is currently handling all administractive aspects of the
business. The last 8 years has brought many changes to the
fundamentals of the computer business in general. Emphasis is now
more on service then sales. This trend that started back as early
the early 2000s, and has grown more so with the advent of spyware and
malware as well as the viral threat.