For computer wholesaler and retailer Troy Witter, just because his business is expanding doesn’t mean he has lost touch with what has made his company, Reality Bytes, so successful.
Two weeks ago Witter opened a second location in Fergus to help supply the wholesale division of his company. The new Fergus store will be having a grand opening celebration next Saturday, June 18.
“Our quality and service is still the same,” said Witter, who ran the company out of his parent’s Hawkesville home before setting up shop at 112 Bonnie Cres. in Elmira seven years ago. “We’ve always taken pride in our quality here and our service. That’s been one of the differences with Reality Bytes as opposed to other computer companies, [and] that won’t change.”
Along with the new location, Witter is also unveiling a major overhaul of his Elmira shop one week later, June 25, and invites customers – old and new – to check out the renovations. The retail section at the front of the store has nearly doubled in size to about 800 square feet after knocking down walls and eliminating a pair of offices.
“We heard in the past that when you had four or five people in the store at once you could feel the tension in the space,” said Witter of why he wanted to renovate the store. “Now, they have a place to browse and feel a little more comfortable.”
Comfort aside, Witter said there is also a practical reason for making the retail section of the store larger and more inviting: it allows him to put more products on display, many of which customers didn’t even know they carried.
“TVs, cameras, projectors, projector screens and all types of things like that which normally we couldn’t have up there because we didn’t have the room,” he said. “It’s more visible now.”
Nevertheless, despite the changes Witter wants his customers and clients to know he has remained true to the small-community roots that helped build Reality Bytes over the years.
Witter has donated prizes for the Woolwich Wild Run, including laptops for the winners, and back in 2009 when Elmira was in the running for Kraft Hockeyville, he donated 40 computers for the public to use to rack up votes to try and win the award.
“I’ve learned that being in the community and servicing the community is a very important thing,” he said.
Reality Bytes is also an electronic-waste facility and charges a small fee for people to bring in their old electronics to be recycled or refurbished. Witter employs one or two co-op students each year so they can gain valuable experience in the computer industry, and help disassemble the e-waste.
That experience is key to educating and developing future computer technicians, Witter says, because the way the industry is moving these days the assembling of computers has become almost accident-proof – which is the wrong way to train, he believes.
“The first computer I built I didn’t have any instructions, the store manager just gave me the parts and said ‘Go’. I put the CPU in backwards, which was a $400 mistake, but I never made it again. Every mistake you learn from,” Witter said.
He also says the major difference that separates his store from the big-box companies is service and quality, and even though he has begun to expand his business – with a third store at an undisclosed location also in the works – he will never try to compete in larger urban centres.
“I don’t want to get into battles of price with the big city because they don’t honour service like we do.
When you bring your stuff here, and buy your stuff here, you’re buying on trust of the small community and of somebody who has been around for a while,” said Witter, who has been a computer technician for more than 15 years after working as a door-to-door coupon salesman.
“I know computers inside and out, and I know quality. For a smaller guy like me I can’t sell junk and make money and keep the confidence of the consumer. My name would go down the tubes.”
That point is key, considering much of his business is made from buying equipment off-lease from companies and refurbishing it for sale elsewhere. His attention to quality and cleanliness with the machines is what sets him apart.
For more information, see www.realitybytescomputers.com.