116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The mother and son owners at RJ Ender Computers is in the business of building what they sell.
“We build a variety of PCs, anywhere from desktops for browsing to computers for gamers,” shop co-owner and operator Kay Patten said. “We also handle repairs such as screens, ports, hinges, keyboards, speakers, data recovery, hard drive upgrades, software issues and remote support.”
RJ Ender Computers also offers sales for new laptops.
“We also have an ‘out-of-the-box’ service for individuals who have purchased a new PC elsewhere and want all the bloatware” — manufacturer-included software that takes up too much memory — “removed, all updates installed and have their apps and files transferred to their new PC.”
Patten runs the store with her son, Jeramey Kies. The two purchased the Cedar Rapids location in May 2021 after working with the previous owner and founder, Rich Ender, for the past couple years.
“Rich trained both of us and checked our work and watched our interactions with customers prior to letting us take over managing the business while he went out of town for about 10 months before we took over the Cedar Rapids east store,” Patten recalled.
Ender remains involved with the business, taking care of remote support customers.
“Rich is also available to consult with us when we have questions,” Patten said. “We bought an established business and are proud to carry on the quality and value Rich built this business on.”
Today, Patten and Kies run all aspects of the business, from providing remote support to making repairs, building computers and handling the ordering, invoicing and laptop sales.
Patten said they offer seven days free remote support after RJ Ender has completed a repair. She added that all Ender-built PCs have lifetime phone support at no additional charge.
Patten said the company grew from hobby beginnings.
“Rich Ender started working on computers in his garage as a hobby while working a full-time job as a lineman for Alliant Energy,” she said. “Soon, everyone who knew Rich brought their computers for repair.”
The first store was opened in Vinton in 1997, she said.
“Within four years he opened a Cedar Rapids location and went on to open four more stores with his son Nicholas, who owned and operated the North Liberty location.”
“It’s a good feeling when customers travel from Waterloo, Iowa City, Oskalosa, Tama, Anamosa and other surrounding areas because they are loyal customers,” she said
“Last week, in fact, I replaced a hard drive in a computer Rich built in 2007.”
Owner-operators: Kay Patten and Jeramey Kies
Address: 3615 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
Phone: (319) 221-1719
Patten said the shift to remote work over the past year brought an increase in business.
“We did several upgrade to home PCs so people could work from home,” she said, noting that one of their main focuses was making sure people were clear on costs.
“Price gouging was and still is everywhere. We would rather be honest and upfront with people. We may not get the sale today but hopefully they think of us next time.”
She said it can be challenging to be a small business in a big-box store world. “We sell our service and commitment to our customers,” Patten said.
“With our new builds we offer a one-year parts and labor warranty. They bring it in and we fix or replace it, no paperwork or calling the manufacturer.”
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