A Family History of serving San Antonio for over 35 years
Bill and Harriet James were operating their printer repair business “BJ Associates” out of their garage on the Southside of San Antonio. They had a good business servicing all of the military bases and the business community. That year Toshiba introduced their first notebook computer and approached the James’s to be one of their first regional service centers. Operating with 1 technician, and Harriet on accounting their reputation for stellar service drove referrals and customers through the doors. Harriet’s gorilla marketing of sending every customer a personal thank you card was only a portion of the uniqueness of this company.
As their business grew, they had to move to a retail location when the neighbors were calling the city on the UPS trucks. Relocating to a 2000 sf building at 901 Isom road next to the airport, the business continued to thrive as BJ’s was known as the king of the laptops, second to none in knowledge, service and sales. BJ said that he had people standing in line with $7000 checks as popularity of the notebook skyrocketed. In 1996, BJ talked one of their 5 sons, Russell into coming over and working in the company. Russell ran grocery stores for Albertsons, and brought an organized focus to the service end of the business. BJ’s, academic and government business thrived as did their laptop sales and service division, forcing expansion as they took over the property next door and doubling their size to 5000 sf.
In 1998, David, another son made the move over to “the family biz”, after running restaurants for 15 years, bringing with him systems, inventory control, financial reporting etc… to the administrative side of the company. With their core niche in mind, the company registered their DBA “THE LAPTOP SPECIALIST” as a service mark with the US Patent and Trademark office. Building this brand, they were soon bursting at the seams again. Tired of the property management increasing the rent as they said that people “were standing in line for that building”, Harriet and BJ started looking for new digs. Down the street they found a 10000sf building at 10823 Gulfdale that once was occupied by a bank records storage company, walk-in vault to boot! The bomb proof door can still be seen to this day, as it would cost more to move it than it was worth. The Gulfdale property could be seen from highway 281N with its traffic count of 167,000 cars per day. They bought that building, with a mortgage that was less than the lease for their Isom location, (which, by the way, sat empty for 2 1/2 years after they moved out). Guess those people got out of line!
Business continued to grow, as BJ’s focused on their core niche of laptops and mobile computing. They were averaging service on 100-150 notebooks per week, on-site commercial accounts, etc… Driven by the requests from customers all over town, they opened a second location at Highway 151 and loop 410 to service the exploding growth in the NW sector of town. This location hit the ground running, and is quickly catching up. Today, The Laptop Specialist has grown to a 14 employee, multi-million dollar enterprise serving San Antonio as an Authorized Service Center for Toshiba, Sony, Fujitsu and Lenovo.