By Gary Nager

Considering a statistic I have heard quoted recently (in ads for a local cable TV company) that the average U.S. family now has at least four internet-connected devices (and still growing), you would think a business like the new CPR Cell Phone Repair in the same plaza as Verizon Wireless just off Bruce B. Downs Blvd. near I-75 would be an instant hit.

Local CPR franchise co-owner Brian Kirk, who has a degree in electrical engineering but was looking a for a new career after being laid off (after 12 years) by Ford Motor Credit less than two years ago (when the U.S. economy tanked), thought so, too. So, he and his wife Marinella opened New Tampa’s only CPR location (there are 88 stores across the U.S., including two in Orlando and one coming soon to Brandon) in July of this year and the business is starting to attract some attention.

“Our location is a natural,” Brian says. “We get a lot of Verizon customers whose phones are either out of warranty or the owners don’t have insurance or even if they do, the deductible on their insurance policy is so high, they will come to us to see if they can’t get a better deal.”

Although the Verizon store does employ repair technicians, Kirk says that most of the time, he and his team of electronics “techies” can usually repair most any problem with not only cell phones, but also all of the top video game systems, laptop and other computers and even broken cameras.

“We had one lady whose cell phone fell into a lake, but we brought it back to life for her,” says Kirk. “We were able to get it working again a week later, too, after she dropped the same phone in a swimming pool.”

Kirk notes that whether your smartphone is an iPhone, LG, Blackberry or any other make or model, whether it has 3G or even 4GS speed or your service is with Verizon, Sprint or another carrier, “It doesn’t matter to us. We usually can fix it in short order.”


Buy, Sell Or Trade, Too!

Kirk notes that customers also appreciate the fact that if his technicians can’t fix a problem with your phone, CPR also is able to buy, sell and trade top makes and models, with phones on sale at the store from as little as $70 to top-of-the-line options costing as much as $250.

Video game system repairs also are a big part of CPR’s business.

“Game systems like Nintendo, Xbox and Sony PS3 collect a lot of dust, which is what causes the most problems with them,” he says. “We have made quite a few kids happy to be able to walk out with a working system again, usually while you wait!”

CPR can even repair iPods, iPads (and other tablet-style computers), as well as digital and film cameras, laptop and desktop computers. “We don’t see too many tablets yet, but because most of the tablet screens are secured with glue, it’s really important that you don’t try to fix those yourself. They’re really easy to break.”

“We offer a six-month warranty on all repairs,” he says. “And right now, we’re offering 10-percent-off all repairs, as well as 10-percent-off all phones and accessories we have for sale, if you mention the Neighborhood News.”

Kirk also notes that, as part of CPR’s “green” approach to business, cell phones that can’t be repaired are donated to the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, which can at least make “dead” phones able to dial 911.

CPR Cell Phone Repair is located at 17501 Preserve Walk Ln, Suite #104. For more info, call 972-0585 or visit

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