A well known computer repair shop, which has been in Winchester for 21 years, is moving to Southampton.

The shop owner, James Dickens, has given us his reflections on moving the business.

During lockdown, James writes, I made the decision to move Computer Solutions from Jewry Street after 21 years, as it made sense to move to a more appropriate location.

I have bought an office in South Western House, Ocean Village, Southampton.

It’ll certainly be strange working from a new location after 21 years, but then we have had to change a lot over the years to stay afloat, so this move is just the next step to move with the times.

I started out at the shop in 1999 when I was a young art student at Winchester School of Art. I got involved with the shop after a visit to a pub once popular with art students, the Mash Tun.

I got a tap on the shoulder and a stranger said, ‘have you considered working in computers, they’re the future you know!’ That stranger was Paul Kane, who would later become my business partner.

I hadn’t realised at the time but Paul had found out he was very ill, and he’d lost his partner a few years prior, but he wasn’t the type of character to fade away peacefully!

Paul knew the guy who had the lease for De Lunn Buildings back then and persuaded him to let him use the shop initially in exchange for selling some women’s dresses and VHS players alongside the computers.

Paul had persuaded a neighbour of his, Tom Gill, to get involved and luckily he had some real IT experience, so we really started to look like a real business.

Before long we had enough money to move to the bigger shop next door (on the corner at 1 De Lunn Buildings) and unfortunately not long after Paul sadly, but expectedly passed away.

What was not expected was that a couple of years later Tom fell ill and was put on chemotherapy, though unfortunately too late and he too passed away far too young.

I left a plaque for them on the wall outside the shop, because without Tom and Paul there wouldn’t have been a Computer Solutions

Now, Computer Solutions is having to change with the times and we're taking on more and more remote help from both homes and businesses wanting affordable remote support.

This really took off during lockdown, and it seems people have stuck with it even with our return to normality.

With costs rising and retail being less and less profitable, as well as time being at a premium, I find that the retail side has simply become uneconomical.

However, we need an office for our staff to work and train, and over the years we have trained over forty technicians from Jewry Street and we are proud to have people we trained working today at IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and even one who is a director at F-Secure antivirus.

Although we are no longer open for drop ins and are no longer in Winchester, we are still able to do callouts to homes and offices in Winchester, we also now do collect and return repairs and of course remote support.

We are still going to be on our old phone number 01962 844700 and you can see more details on our website www.computersolutions.co.uk.

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