South Wairarapa Computer Services

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    The fix it team: (left to right) Owner John Rennie, with Dillon and Brooke Sykes and Kerry Fenwick.

John Rennie thought he was set for retirement, but having started a new business, South Wairarapa Computer Services (SWCS) in Greytown last year, he’s hardly had time to dust off his golf clubs.

SWCS is located in Greytown’s main street and has recently expanded by opening a service centre in Carterton as well. “Twenty percent of our customers come from there, so it made good sense,” explains John.

SWCS is a specialist IT hub with a wide range of integrated services including installation of home entertainment technology, full office infrastructure set-up, and web design.

“Our core business is computer repairs and servicing and we do set ups for Wi-Fi and Internet connections too. We also set up and integrate televisions, stereos and computers into one home entertainment system.”

SWCS’s retail space houses computers, printers, printer inks, screens and speakers. Custom-built computers for specific uses are also on offer. “We can’t do the specials that the big guys do but we can match their regular prices and where we compete is with our installation and set up service.”

In our computer driven age, computers have become an essential tool in day-to-day life, but when they break down, how we panic! Having a skilled technician come to the rescue can be literally, like a lifeline. For those who work from home, having help at hand is peace of mind, says John.

“Some people in Greytown telecommute from home and in this way they can still be logged on to their firms in Wellington.”

John worked previously for the ANZ Bank in the area of technical support for payroll and HR systems. Following a redundancy he worked from home but says he missed the contact with people. When the opportunity came to set up business in Greytown, he jumped at it. “I saw the need for a computer business such as ours here,” he says.

John says he has an excellent team in his employees: technical guru, Kerry Fenwick, aka ‘Mr Fixit’, and web designer and computer technician, Dillon Sykes. Dillon’s sister, Brooke Sykes is the welcoming face at SWCS’ reception

“One of my philosophies is to try and keep the younger people in our rural centres,” says John. “Our first year in business has been average but we are still here,” he says. “Although we haven’t hit the targets I was hoping for, I realise that Wairarapa is very much a word of mouth business environment and that takes longer to build up. We’ve advertised on radio and in the newspaper but doing business here is still largely based on people hearing that you’ve done a good job.”

John had a relationship with a Wellington-based accountant but having established his business locally, he needed someone who was closer and Moore Stephens Markhams in Greytown seemed a better option. Even though the firm now operates just from its Masterton office, it’s still close enough to drop in if need be. “They are very flexible in that way,” he says.

Again, support of local business was another reason for John’s choice, “If you keep it local you are building that network of local people you know and who know you. It’s an excellent community and we’ve found it very welcoming. Some of the smaller towns can be difficult to break into, but not Greytown.”

Mike Flower, Moore Stephens Markhams director has always been available to help answer any queries John has had. “We’ve had a couple of meetings where Mike has pulled in other people from his team to discuss things.” SWCS use Xero’s on-line accounting package and John says the firm has an expert who helps with anything they require in this area.

Published Summer 2014.

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