Aggieville is known as a place where K-State students party. For nearly a year, it’s also been a place where a K-State student has operated his business with fellow students.
Alex Philip, a computer engineering major at K-State, is the owner, manager and technician at Geek Shop Repair, which repairs computers, tablets, phones and video game consoles.
Philip said many customers aren’t aware of his status with the business when they come to the shop. “A lot of people don’t think I’m the owner, manager or anything like that,” he said.
As the shop approaches its one-year anniversary Oct. 1, Geek Shop is moving Sept. 1 from its current Aggieville location to the west side at 3037 Anderson Ave.
“We’re finally able to expand to a bigger location, so we can better serve people,” Philip said.
Philip is delaying the start of his third year by a semester in order to focus on the business solely as the transition occurs. “We’re finally getting enough staff on hand to where I’ll be able to start taking more classes pretty soon,” he said.
Philip said this venture has been one of the most difficult things he’s ever done. “It’s very, very hard to keep your time manageable,” he said. “It started as something we could handle between classes.”
The business began taking up more of his time because staff growth didn’t match customer growth. “It just kind of got to a point where I almost couldn’t go to class because we were getting so much business coming in,” he said.
It may have gone beyond Philip’s expectations, but he said he and Jason Gregg, his business partner, knew Manhattan would be a good location. Gregg operates a location in Wichita.
“We expected it to be pretty good,” Philip said of the customer traffic. “I knew there was a need for a lot of our services like our phone and console repairs.”
Philip and Gregg met when Philip was a high school sophomore in Wichita, looking for an opportunity to work at Gregg’s shop.
Philip said he walked in and told Gregg that he didn’t have experience but wanted to learn.
“I worked for about two weeks for free,” he said. “Then he said ‘you seem to know enough about what you’re doing and I’ll hire you on as a part-time technician.’”
Philip began teaching himself about the inner workings of computers at an early age.
“I’ve always been interested in computers since I was in elementary and middle school,” he said. “I would take things apart on my own.”
Philip didn’t have customer equipment to repair at that time, so he started with the things around him…things like his parents’ computer.
“My mom would come home from work and the computer would be in 25 pieces,” he said. “She would freak out and say, ‘You better know how to put that back together.’”
As the business expands, Philip is adding on-site service calls and retail items such as computers and computer parts. He said he hopes to open a third location, possibly in the Kansas City area.
Part of Philip’s ambition for business comes from his family. He said his dad, uncle and grandfathers on both sides all owned businesses.
“I just kinda always wanted to be able to do things my way,” Philip said.