MacInspires: Company strives to have the answers to all computer questions

Hard at work at the front counter of his store MacInspires, Travis Sluss and everyone there strives to make sure they have the answers to computer questions and concerns not just for Apple products, but PCs as well. — Ken Borsuk photo

Hard at work at the front counter of his store MacInspires, Travis Sluss and everyone there strives to make sure they have the answers to computer questions and concerns not just for Apple products, but PCs as well.
— Ken Borsuk photo

For some, just being able to get their computers to turn on successfully is a minor miracle. But for others, they have bigger goals like creating movies and music and mastering the art of 3-D printing. For all of those needs MacInspires on Greenwich Avenue says it can help.

Since its grand opening more than a year ago, MacInspires has been there to try and help customers with needs both big and small. Travis Sluss is co-founder and co-owner of the store. It’s there for complicated data retrieval or repairs after warranties have expired. And it’s there to sell people the latest Apple accessories for items like MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, iPods and more.

But the store, at 53 Greenwich Avenue after starting off in 2012 in Byram, is about more than just sales. There’s also the repair part of the business and, since the store opened last year, it’s been offering classes for all level of computer users. Mr. Sluss says this is part of MacInspires being a “four-legged business” where there’s the major concentration on repair, the education, consulting and IT including “house calls” to homes and businesses in town and the sales.

“We tell people that a lot of times learning technology is just as much about breaking personal barriers as it is about learning something,” Mr. Sluss said. “We’re here to make sure the person is comfortable. We’re ready to hold the customer’s hand as they go through the solution. There’s so much that goes on with these devices that even we feel like we can be overwhelmed sometimes, so it’s understandable that anyone else would feel that way. We’re here to help and that’s what we pride ourselves on. We are a business but we really care about the people. We really want to solve their problems.”

And that help is not just provided through the tech support that every computer user inevitable needs. The classes are there to not just end that feeling of technological confusion but also to help people who are adept move onto even higher levels. Being able to offer those classes was a big reason the store, which was co-founded by Mr. Sluss and Loren Gelbstein, moved from Byram to a bigger space on Greenwich Avenue last year, allowing for an on-site classroom.

“We want to support everyone,” Mr. Sluss said. “We have beginner, intermediate and advanced classes. We have classes in everything from ‘How do I turn this on?’ to Excel to iCloud to more creative things like Photoshop and making movies and recording music.”

One change over the first year on Greenwich Avenue has been adjusting the classes so they are now one-on-one lessons between the customer and the instructor. Originally they had several people at once, but Mr. Sluss said the staff, including Education Director Lance Pendleton, found that this was a more direct and effective way.

“We found pretty immediately that people get way more done when it’s a one-on-one lesson,” Mr. Sluss said. “You can’t even compare the two. We call them classes but it’s really private instruction mostly for an hour long. That’s something you’re not going to find anywhere else. The instructors here have years and years of experience.”

That means that everyone on the staff is also learning, keeping ahead of the curve in technology, including learning about the new Apple operating system that isn’t even available for users yet. Mr. Sluss said there are close to a dozen people on staff now with different backgrounds, and they’re learning from each other as well as from the latest products and updates. Mr. Sluss said with so many different backgrounds in computers, such as setting up servers, programming and art, it’s a necessity that everyone there learn from each other in the classroom and on repairs and support, and it’s also fun.

“Undoubtedly there’s going to be someone here who knows the answer,” Mr. Sluss said.

You’re not going to be able to go into MacInspires and buy a new computer, but Mr. Sluss said you will be able to find everything else you would need there in terms of accessories. The reason for that is selling the computers and other Apple items would put them right up against the company’s stores, one of which is down further on Greenwich Avenue, which would be a lot for a small business to take on. And it also allows the store to focus, instead, on providing services like education and repair.

“We focus on the fun things surrounding the devices, not the devices themselves,” Mr. Sluss said.

With so many hand-held devices as part of the Apple catalog these days, it’s common that things get dropped or have things spilled on them and when those products break, it’s MacInspires that can help. Product repairs where warranties have expired can be extremely expensive to fix through Apple, but the store can get it done “quicker and for less cost” according to Mr. Sluss.

While Apple is the main crux of the business, PCs also may be brought in for service and repair and its users can get the same education. And Mr. Sluss, Mr. Gelbstein and everyone working with the store is happy to spread the word about what MacInspires is all about when people walk in not knowing what they’re selling. Mr. Sluss says that foot traffic of curious people walking down Greenwich Avenue is quite common, and they’re eager to talk to anyone who stops in even if their question is only “What are you guys all about?”

“Technology is more and more in our life every day, which is great because it can help us more, but there’s also more we can do with it, which means more questions and that’s what we’re here for,” Mr. Sluss said. “We want to be the place where you can answer everybody’s questions.”

More information is online at and the store also has a presence on the Web at both Twitter and Facebook.


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