Leah Blain

Column: ThinkMonkey changes location

Business Spotlight/Leah Blain

Ross and Jean Neufeld opened their company, ThinkMonkey, three years ago in Blind Bay. They repair computers, Smartphones and tablets.

“We were in a rental basement and we started with a six-foot repair bench in the furnace room,” says Ross. “We rapidly outgrew that repair bench and we moved into a house in Salmon Arm and I decided my repair bench needed to be a 12-foot repair bench. That lasted about three weeks – we were at capacity and we needed to grow.”

They have just opened at their new location, Westgate Public Market, with lots more space.

“We’ve designed our bench to grow with us and we were at capacity in our first week.”

Jean does the cell phone repairs and Ross is the computer guy. He has worked in the industry from age 14 but he got started a few years earlier.

“At the age of 10 I tore apart my dad’s $4,000 IBM and completely rebuilt it and did various upgrades that helped the life of that computer last about an extra 10 years.”

Besides taking many repair courses, Ross has a software engineering degree.

Ross says they take a lot of pride in being transparent and open with their customers, and being a socially responsible company.

“Our suppliers are Canadian-based. We recycle as much as we can. We have an initiative called the Guatemala Project that we started several years ago. We donate laptops that we’ve repaired and refurbished. We ship them once a year and they go to kids who are going to university.”

Ross accepts donated laptops. Anyone who donates an old laptop to the program, Ross will transfer the data to their new computer free of charge.

In January, ThinkMonkey will be offering night classes to help people learn the basics of their computers.

To find out more, visit their website, www.thinkmonkey.ca or their Facebook page, ThinkMonkey – Your Friendly Computer, Smartphone, Tablet Repair Company, or email hello@thinkmonkey.ca or phone 250-463-1521.

They are open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Related: Business spotlight – Salmon Arm Barbershop celebrates 25 years

Merriman Woodworks opens its doors

“Clean lines with minimal designs.”

That’s how Kyle Merriman describes how he likes his woodwork creations to look. His storefront, located in Westgate Public Market, has everything from coasters and trays to bookshelves, tables, screens, couches and even artwork.

Kyle grew up in Salmon Arm and moved to Vancouver Island where he got a degree in psychology but he realized that wasn’t the life he really wanted. What he did enjoy was his summer jobs doing construction and making things.

“I changed course. I I decided to go to Selkirk College in Nelson and did woodworking there. It was absolutely amazing. It’s the most fun I ever had. Every day we got to design our own projects.”

After graduating from Selkirk, Kyle started shopping around for jobs. He had job offers at the Coast but he decided to come back to Salmon Arm.

“I started doing woodwork for family and friends for fun and I started taking commissions informally.”

Besides the items he has for sale, Kyle will do custom work.

“I like making all kinds of stuff. My favourite thing to make is something I’ve never done before.”

Merriman Woodworks is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can visit his website at merrimanwoodworks.com or his Facebook page at Merriman Woodworks or phone 250-803-2698.

Salmar – new and recycled

The renovations at the Salmar Grand Cinemas lobby and concession are just about done. They have a new concession counter, new menu boards (designed by Brendan Greek), a new front door, new flooring that replaces the carpet and a ceiling that looks like a starry sky with 2,000 LED lights and a 3D projected moon to complete the look.

Both the Grand and the Classic have launched into a recycle program that will take them to almost zero waste within a year. The bins in the lobbies have posted signs instructing what items go in where.

“A video will be coming soon to the big screen,” says Camille Aura, one of the Salmar supervisors. The video will show patrons about the recycling program. The waste from almost everything they sell at the concession can be recycled or composted.

Many of the products, such as the compostable straws, go to Spa Hills Compost.

“It’s about community and showing support for bringing down waste,” says Camille.

Women in Business Meet & Greet

On Monday, Dec. 17 the Shuswap Women In Business (SWIB) are hosting a SWIB Holiday Meet and Greet from 6 p.m. to 7:30ish at Westgate Public Market.

SWIB acting president Donna Peters says all women in business who own or are responsible for operation of a local small business/corporation or non-profit organization in the Shuswap are welcome to come. Please feel free to bring your marketing material. If you bring a prize to donate you will be entered to win a prize.

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided and the Ugly Mug will be open to serve wine.

Starting at 6:15 there will be a tour of businesses in the market owned by local women.

For more information visit their Facebook page, Shuswap Women in Business.


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