Trevor Mead-Robins’ suburban home in Whitehorse appears rather average from the outside. But a small green sign on his front door and another near the side entrance lead you to something a little less than ordinary.
A kitchen setting – complete with an oven, cabinetry and tile flooring – has been transformed into a computer hardware haven with software to boot. “Hot deals” are perched on the stove rounds. Wood cabinet doors have been plucked from their hinges providing ample shelving space for iPod accessories and a variety of Apple wares.
Behind a large monitor sits Mead-Robins, helping his final customer of the day before the clock strikes six.
“Our focus is service. It always has been and always will be,” he says while we later lounge on his outdoor patio. Mead-Robins operates Meadia Solutions – an Apple computer sales and support service – out of what used to be a rented apartment space in his Copper Ridge abode.
“When people come in and they know it’s a home-based business, they expect I’ll have a couple of things on the shelf,” he says of his growing inventory. “It’s been sort of nicknamed ‘The I Want Store.'”
About three years ago, he became accredited as an Apple technician and authorized reseller. But the home-based computer support business has been in the works for over a decade.
“It started as a hobby about 12 years ago and was a part-time thing where my client base just gradually grew. It’s just sort of been a natural evolution and progression based on circumstance and based on community demand,” Mead-Robins explains.
“It was just a matter of timing that Apple had the most popular laptop on the market and, of course, everyone is buying iPods and people want support. You can get [the products] online, but I think most Yukoners like to support local.”
Originally Meadia Solutions ran out of a small room on the upstairs level of the house. But Mead-Robins says it was a little too cramped for comfort.
“I couldn’t separate the business from life because I was living in an Apple store,” he says with a laugh.
Now the business has expanded throughout the basement to include a main accessories room, product show room, gaming corner and repair shop. But Mead-Robins admits he’s fond of mixing business with pleasure.
“I try and integrate it intentionally. My clients from a decade ago are still some of my clients today and they’ve become some of my closest friends,” he says sipping on a rum and coke – the rum, a gift from a loyal client.
“There’s a Japanese expression that good business breeds good friendship and this is something I’ve really come to appreciate first hand. A big part of why I enjoy doing this is that the people that come in looking for a Mac are generally pretty interesting people.”
Mead-Robins says he’ll regularly talk shop over dinner. In fact, the first time I met him was when he hosted a mutual friend’s birthday soiree – and he was quick to show off not only the downstairs store, but also what the gadgets are capable of in his very own home.
“Running a business is a lot of work and I don’t have time to be purely sociable. A lot of my friends are customers and clients anyway and they’re in the same boat. So we’ll integrate the two.”
However, he says he finds it easy to keep a rigid routine going. Mead-Robins teaches at École Émilie-Tremblay in the mornings and then opens up shop in the afternoons.
Ultimately, the goal is to take the business to the streets of downtown, but without sacrificing its home sweet home appeal.
“There’s a little bit of a ‘Trevor’s Place’ feel to it, a little bit informal, a little bit fun,” he explains. “When we do make a move downtown, I’d like to be able to carry some of that culture of the business that’s developed over the years.”
Find out more about Meadia Solutions at www.meadia.net.
PHOTO: RICK MASSIE [email protected]