Business Spotlight: iShop Repair
When Josh Royer was a master gunner in the National Guard, he showed soldiers how to build weaponry. He didn’t realize those same skills would serve him perfectly as owner of iShop Repair in Avon.
iShop Repair, owned by Josh and Britney Royer, offers repairs on Apple products, including iPhones, iPads, iPods and computers. They also sell accessories and refurbished devices.
As dependent as most people are on their devices, Royer says business is good.
“We stay busy enough,” Royer says. “We primarily stick to Apple so that we can offer a higher level of repair and efficiency.”
Royer and his wife Britney base their business on the principle of helping people. Initial diagnoses are free, so he urges people to simply bring in their device if they have a question.
“Obviously, we are sales here, but we never attempt to really sell,” Royer says. “We listen, we find out what they want, and we give them options. I have no problem sending them to a competitor or somewhere else if I genuinely can’t help. I just want to take care of people.”
Customer service is so important to the Royers that they don’t offer warranties. Most sales are personal, and Royer considers that the receipt. They encourage anyone with any kind of question about their device, even if it’s not an Apple product, to just pop in.
“Most of our fixes can be done within an hour,” Royer says. “It happens so often that people come in thinking everything is lost and there’s no hope. Just come in. It’s probably a simple repair. When we do that, people’s mood changes and their life is better. And we like that.”
They also do a lot of help with iCloud, sometimes sitting with customers for up to an hour to make sure they understand how it works. Royer also emphasizes it’s easier to help customers because his hands aren’t tied by a bigger company pressuring him to sell devices and plans.
“All of that is customer service,” Royer says. “We don’t charge for that.”
Royer graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 2006 with a degree in communications and served in the National Guard completing two tours in Iraq. When he returned from Iraq the second time in 2008, the world felt different.
“The world was empty and jobless,” Royer says, referring to the recession. “Evansville was a dark place. I needed a bigger city with more opportunities to start a life.”
Royer moved to the west side of Indianapolis, where he met his future wife Britney at the Avon Target. She was a hairdresser, and Royer was working part-time at Medco. At the time, Royer had given his brother Austin a new 3G iPhone. Royer took Austin’s old 2G phone with a cracked screen and, much to his surprise, was able to sell it on Craig’s List for $100.
The brothers, who had grown up with a “decent garage full of stuff,” always loved to tinker. So tinkering with phones became an interest and a natural hobby. Royer began to do some research, got parts on eBay and began treating his transactions as his own trade school.
“I took out $500 I had saved up to get started,” he says. “I was going to break some stuff but I was going to learn some stuff too.”
The first time Royer took a phone apart, it reminded him of taking apart a military weapon. The process was the same, keeping all the tiny parts in a very precise order. He became more efficient, using YouTube and driving all over town picking up phones and parts he found on Craig’s list. Soon he found that he was working 20 hours at his part-time job and 40 hours repairing phones.
He partnered with a friend named Dustin, who had also been doing repairs. Dustin knew the ins and outs of the business side, and together they opened the iShop in December of 2012 in a little strip mall in Avon, no more than 500 square feet in size. They put everything they made back into the business.
Once the business became sustainable, Royer revisited a dream of his — to become a firefighter. He was hired onto the Wayne Township Fire Department as a full-time firefighter in July 2016. Austin and Britney currently run the store and are the face of the business to the community while Royer pops in from time to time.
The couple truly enjoys working together while also connecting with the community every day.
“The most fun thing has been watching our relationship grow and our children growing with us,” Britney says. “We just work really well together, and we don’t let outside things interfere with that.”
She loves connecting with customers each day, comfortable with the customer service aspect of the business because of her experience as a hairdresser.
“I greet people, I make it bubbly and fun,” she says. “I love being on the frontlines with the customers. It’s in my blood.”
When they were able to move the iShop to its current location on Rockville Road in 2014, they had been married a year and were expecting their first child. But they were devastated when they became victims of a robbery one week after they moved the store. Everything inside was stolen.
“We bucked up, called insurance and from there started the hustle again,” Britney says. “We want this really bad. We hustle hard.”
The company boasts seven years of being in a brick and mortar and eight years of being in the industry.
The Royers are most proud of their focus on family and customer service. Austin, who can remember fixing phones in class for his classmates, truly enjoys the satisfaction of helping customers who often come in completely distraught over a broken device they depend on so much every single day.
“It’s just really nice to see people come in here and leave happy,” Austin says. “Most people’s phones are their lives and when something happens to them it’s catastrophic.”
Britney also enjoys impacting people who come into the store. She distinctly remembers helping a customer once who came in visibly distraught. Her son had committed suicide, but she couldn’t access her phone, which had everything on it from his last moments to his last voicemails.
“I connected with her so much,” Britney says. “I just wanted so bad to help her. We were able to recover some of it, and she started breaking down and then I was crying because I was so happy we could help even a little. Yes, it’s just a phone, but to some people, it’s their life. To be able to make that function again for them and for the relief to show on their face is just awesome.”
Their emphasis on community shows in their involvement, as they’ve given to the Avon High School football team, the band, and they offer Student of the Month dinners at Charbonos.
“We put all our advertising and marketing money into the community,” Royer adds.
Royer wants customers to know their business is appreciated so all returning customers get a 10% discount.
“It doesn’t necessarily give us joy to see you come back in here with a broken phone,” Royer says. “I just think, gosh, I want to help you again.”