By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN For the past two years, Tommy Thao has been building and repairing computers from his Dassel home.
Having outgrown the space with an increasing computer inventory, Thao opened up shop in downtown Dassel in January.
CompuWorks is located along Atlantic Avenue between The Little Red Hen and Thirsty’s Tavern.
Roughly 12 years ago, Thao, an engineering graduate from Michigan Tech University and a former Hutchinson Technology employee, began fixing and building computers as a hobby.
“It’s just fun,” Thao said, adding that building and fixing computers can also be a challenge. “There are lots of things to fix things to try out. The possibilities are endless.”
In a down economy, when most people aren’t willing to spend a lot of money on technology, Thao found he could make a business by offering affordable options along with great customer service.
Thao has heard how customers can spend hours on the phone with a particular computer company without getting answers to their questions.
“[CompuWorks] saves you time, instead of sitting on the phone all day,” Thao said, adding that the person on the other end is also local.
Thao described the process of building a computer as being much like connecting Legos.
Using about five to eight components, Thao can build a computer in about two hours, including the time it takes to install the operating system.
CompuWorks offers both used and refurbished desktop and laptop computers, mainly the Dell brand, along with other computer components and accessories.
Thao, and his two part-time employees, Dan Hendrickson of Dassel, and Eric Sietsema of Lake Lillian, also do service calls.
Customers, business or residential, can call, bring in their computer, and get an estimate from Thao.
Other services provided include: wireless setup, training and tutoring, home network and phone setups, virus and Spyware removal, backup and storage, along with free consulting to customers.
Store hours are Monday and Tuesday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. CompuWorks can be reached via e-mail or phone daily.
Thao is planning a grand opening event in the future, with the date and time to be announced.
He will also be at the Litchfield Expo Saturday, April 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Litchfield Civic Arena.
To reach Thao, call (763) 443-2015 or e-mail CompuWorks09@gmail.com.