The popularity of Apple iPhones and iPads also is good for Justin Drake Carroll’s repair business called Fruit Fixed that he started in 2012.
Back then, he was working on Blackberrys and Apple smartphones, thus the fruit reference in his company name.
He opened the first storefront in Carytown in Richmond in 2014. A second location opened in the Short Pump area in 2016, followed by a location that opened in Colonial Heights in April of this year.
A fourth location is scheduled to open in August in Charlottesville, said the 28-year-old whose impetus to start the business was dropping his iPhone.
“I went to the Apple store for a simple cracked screen. They told me it was going to be around $300,” Carroll said.
The reason for the high tab, he said, was because he had to do a swap out or exchange his phone because Apple determined the repair was more complicated.
“I went online and found a screen,” Carroll said. He fixed it himself.
He started doing repairs for friends on the side, then realized there was a demand for what he was doing and went into business. He worked out of his apartment for two years before opening a storefront in Carytown, then moving in 2015 to where he is now at 3324 W. Cary St.
“There are a lot of things that Apple does great,” Carroll said. But the company is facing growing pressure over its repair policies.
Reuters news agency reported recently that Apple will provide its proprietary screen-fixing machines to about 400 authorized repair centers. The move is partly to reduce the wait times for customers to get repairs.
The Fruit Fixed website lists repair costs for type of repair and device.
Carroll realizes what he and others are doing is controversial, but he noted that Apple’s repair policies also are controversial. He said he is glad to see Apple making its screen-fixing equipment more widely available even though he has no interest in becoming an Apple authorized service center.
“The problem with that is Apple-authorized service centers are beholden to the same sort of things that they can repair and things that they can’t repair just like the Apple stores,” Carroll said.
“It would be great to get that machine, but you kiss 50 percent of your business goodbye. All these weird little issues we can fix and we can help people with ... Apple does not fix, but we do,” Carroll said.
Carroll said his three stores employ 12 people. The other Fruit Fixed locations are at 11655 W. Broad St. in western Henrico County and at 790 Southpark Blvd. in Colonial Heights. The precise location of the Charlottesville store has not yet been determined.