Growing up in West Liberty, Ohio, I remember getting our first computer and setting it up in our living room. Unlike any of my friends, we didn't go to the local computer store to pick one out. My stepfather had a job in IT, so I was fortunate enough to help him build it from scratch. I remember typing in the DOS prompts once we put the bare bones together and plugged it in. I watched the monitor light up and heard the fans start blowing. It felt like nothing I have ever witnessed before. I knew from that point on that my future would include computers.
At the age of 10, I found myself helping my friend's parents pick out and set up their first computer. That later turned into regular phone calls to help them learn software, programs, and how to best utilize their new machine. It was clear at a young age that helping people with technology was my passion.
People often ask me of how or why I started my business. In 2012, I moved back to my hometown after being away for a decade running corporate retail stores. Immediately I started receiving phone calls about fixing computers from past "customers," and I was reminded of how it felt to help those parents while I was attending West Liberty-Salem. It was obvious that there was a strong need for quality computer repair in the area, so I took a chance and stuck a "Computer Repair" sign in my front yard. I still have that sign to this day and keep in in my office as a reminder of why I started this business in the first place.
Besides knowing what kind of service experience I could provide for my clients, I was also confident that I could start a business from scratch. If you talk to anyone who knew me before college, you will hear stories of a young entrepreneur. Stories like how I used to sell donuts out of the back of my 1987 Camaro before school started each day, or selling sticks of gum for a quarter a piece after purchasing the packs of 5 pieces for a quarter myself. I knew that running a business was a passion of mine.
And there is a good reason I didn't name my business "Berry Computer Repair." I knew from the start that it would grow into so much more than that, and I could provide an amazing experience for anyone that needed a "digital solution."
Fast forward to now and you will see a business I am beyond proud to have started. I have built Berry Digital Solutions with a foundation of honesty and treating people right. In 2015, I brought on my lifelong best friend Chris Anders as a key business partner, and together, we work with a network of over 40 local subcontractors to ensure that every project we complete is done at the highest level possible. My passion for growing businesses grew stronger than my passion for computer repair, so I was forced to find key individuals in the computer repair field that shared my high expectations for customer service and quality repair. Jamie Tolle, of Buckeye Computer Services, and Brandon Shockey, of Your Computer Dude, help me continue to deliver the quality experience I expect for my computer repair clients. This allowed me to grow our small business portion of our business to now serving over 100 local clients with website development, social media marketing, small business consulting, and other digital services.
Business is a strong passion of mine and I take a lot of pride in my local businesses, but I take even more pride in my family. I have a beautiful wife Erika, who supports my crazy ideas daily and makes sure the little things get done correctly. I like to say she keeps me grounded. She is a constant reminder of why I love my job and why I continue to deliver a digital experience everyone should deserve. Our children, Hailey, Zachary, Zoe, Brody, and Oliver, keep our schedules filled regularly. When I am not at work, you can catch us at the softball fields, gymnasiums, and local YMCA. If you drive by our house you will likely see us outside with our fainting goats, chickens, 3 dogs and a cat. We love going to church on Sunday mornings and spending quality time together any chance we can. My family is the fuel for my business. They are the reason I wake up everyday energized to help my clients. Without them, I would be working without a cause.
If you are in need of someone to help you come up with a digital solution, I would love to be that guy. "Who is your website guy?"
Born in Bellefontaine, Ohio and raised in West Liberty, I'm happy to be back in my hometown, helping small businesses navigate the digital world.
I first met Ryan at "It's a Rainbow World" preschool in West Liberty when we were 3 years old. We grew up together and have remained lifelong friends. In May of 2015, we decided to team up to form an official partnership in Berry Digital Solutions, LLC. Ryan was already operating a successful small business, repairing computers and building websites, but as the business quickly grew, he needed more help.
I had spent my entire career building and maintaining high-profile websites for my employers, and I was always intrigued with the thought of branching out on my own. Berry Digital Solutions became that branch, and I've never looked back! (Coincidentally, if we bump into each other, and it's been a few years and the conversation leads to what we're up to now, it's almost a lock that I'll try to encourage you to break out on your own and start your own business too!)
One of the many benefits of starting your own business is choosing the location to run that business. Ryan and I love working in the community that raised us. In my opinion, there's no better place to live and raise a family than rural, west central Ohio. Now that I'm raising my family here, I want nothing more than to see this community, its small businesses and people flourish!
I owe quite a debt of gratitude to West Liberty's own "It's a Rainbow World" Preschool. Not only did I meet Ryan there, but I also met and formed lifelong relationships with about a dozen other friends all from that same class of 3 & 4 year olds! Our group of friends stuck together through the years at WL-S. Then, we all headed off to different schools, occupations and locations across the country.
That same group of West Liberty friends is where I met my wife Jessica. After high school, the two of us attended Ohio Northern University together. Meanwhile, Ryan moved to Orlando, Florida with two other mutual friends from our core group to attend Full Sail University.
After graduating from ONU, my next stop was Columbus, Ohio, where I worked as the Assistant Director of Communication for the Columbus Clippers. At the same time, Jessica stayed busy completing her studies at The Ohio State University to become a physical therapist. (We didn't have a lot of free time during this stage of our lives, so I got her a part-time job running the scoreboard at Clippers game so we could see each other for 4 hours a night in the press box.)
Around this same time, Ryan returned to Dayton, Ohio after completing his degree. He started a family first, and I was right behind him. We managed to stay close despite the distance and new hectic lifestyles we were living. And just a few years later, we both returned to Champaign County to raise our families. Ryan started Berry Digital Solutions while I spent 7 years as the Assistant Athletic Director of Media Relations at Urbana University.
Now, more and more of our lifelong friends are all returning to West Liberty and the surrounding communities to raise their families too. I think we all realized there's no better location in the world to raise a family. Everyday, I'm excited to wake up and see familiar faces working hard together to make this place so wonderful.
If there's anything I can do to help your business in the digital world, please don't hesitate to reach out. Our small business is here for your small business, and together, we can accomplish more!