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College sophomore runs his own iPhone repair shop

By Carolina Astrain
Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.
Updated Nov. 13, 2012 at 5:13 a.m.

Travis Chavira, 21, works on an iPhone for a customer at his business iFix iPhone Guy in Victoria. Chavira works on an average of eight phones a day, fixing everything from completely shattered fronts/backs to just replacing a button or rebooting the software.

After shattering both of the screens on her iPhone, Summer Donahoo changed her Facebook status to broadcast her tragedy.

Within a few hours, Travis Chavira, 21, commented on Summer's status suggesting that she bring her broken phone to his shop for repair.

The 17-year-old had accepted Chavira's friend-request days before her accident.

The iPhone technician, who is not an authorized Apple dealer, opened his repair shop after raising seed money from fixing phones from his car.

The young entrepreneur used to set up a mobile shop by Discount Tire, where he once worked as a tire technician.

"Working there taught me how to be efficient," Chavira said. "The managers were always on us about hustling to get the jobs done in time."

Chavira handed out business cards and fliers to shoppers walking in and out the tire shop.

In August, seven months later, the college sophomore moved into his own shop in the 1200 block of Mockingbird Lane.

"I was hoping that Discount Tire was going to be my last job," Chavira said. "Hopefully, I can be my own boss the rest of my life."

To expand his pool of potential customers in the area, Chavira said, he started making a few random friend requests on Facebook to Crossroads residents.

"Because once they friend me, they can see my iFix iPhone Guy page, and then they can like that page," Chavira said. "It helps me know about my competitors here."

Once the glass casing of a phone is ruined, Chavira fits what's left with a new glass case.

Some of the cases Chavira offers at his store include leopard and camouflage prints.

"I can order different colors for the iPhone and iPad," Chavira said.

For his older customers, Chavira said, he also offers iPhone tutorials starting at $25 for the first hour.

The Marfa native said he does his best to keep his iPhone parts supplier a secret from competitors.

"Eventually, I'll be going to China to pick up parts, instead of ordering," Chavira said. "My supplier is very well-known for getting parts cheaply from China."

After Summer's phone was fixed, her fingers danced over a pink leopard case on display.

"Mom's going to be jealous when she sees this," Summer said.

Her father, Randy Donahoo, peered over to see the slick design.

The daughter and father were in between errands when they stopped by to check on Chavira's progress on Summer's phone.

The teen jangled her keys tied to a lanyard.

She twirled the twine, breaking the silence in the room, as Chavira put the finishing touches on her repair.

Summer handed Chavira her card for payment, and the technician swiped it through his iPhone's credit card adaptor.

"Do you want me to text you or email your receipt?" Chavira asked.

The tech-savvy businessman said he charges between $25 and $300 for repairs in his shop, depending on the severity of the spill.

"It just depends what you need done on your phone," Chavira said.

If a phone is beyond repair, Chavira said, he'll sometimes offer to buy the remaining parts off the owner to later construct a working phone with other random pieces from his collection. Then, he will sell the phone for a reduced price.

"He's going to come in and buy one of these from you," said Summer, referring to her father.

After completing their purchase, the father and daughter walked out the shop, back to their car with her repaired white-leopard iPhone in tow.



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