In and Out Smart Repair in Redding
Story and photo by Richard DuPertuis
In the back room at In & Out Smart Repair, two techs see a man walking in the front door on their security monitor. Owner Trey Bollinger leaves a repair job and quick-steps out to meet his customer at the counter. There, the man shows him an iPhone that has been run over by a car.
“I left it on my car roof,” explains Steve Cole with a sheepish grin. “A dog distracted me.”
At first glance, the device looks way beyond repair, its display reduced to an abstract mosaic of dark shards. Bollinger takes it and Cole back to his workspace, where he and employee Nils Pickard can determine the extent of the damage. Both say, after hundreds of repairs between them, neither has been able to fix anything quite this damaged before.
With practiced hands, Bollinger quickly removes the shattered screen and plugs in a spare display left over from an earlier repair. The screen lights up, showing rows of application icons. Bollinger touches one, and the iTunes Store opens. All three men hoot in amazement – and perhaps in respect for the durability of an iPhone 6.
Cole says he brought his mashed iPhone to In & Out because they did so well repairing his laptop not long ago. As he leaves the store, he calls the two techs “miracle workers.”
For a store in operation only a few months, In & Out Smart Repair boasts a workload that could be called miraculous. Consulting the computer on his front counter, Bollinger notes that in November, his first full month in business, he and Nils made more than 300 repairs on phones, laptops, tablets and desk computers. Today, he says they’ve got plenty of work, pointing to a line of incoming repairs arranged just outside the back room.
Bollinger credits In & Out’s seemingly instant success to his lifelong experience in business. His father was a successful Lousiana entrepreneur whose firm filled a niche demand by servicing cranes on offshore oil rigs. “Even though we grew up with a lot of nice things, we were told to work,” he says of himself and his two brothers. “When other kids were playing we were working. When we got to 15, 16 years old, we financed our own vehicles.”
After working his way to a bachelor’s degree in business, Bollinger teamed with his brothers to turn their deer hunting hobby into enterprise. They began by stocking a herd on the acreage of their father’s ranch for their customers to sign in and hunt. “We found a niche market. The North American white-tailed deer is the most hunted animal on the planet,” he says. “We ended up having one of the largest herds in the state.”
Bollinger’s marketing skills drew the attention of other local entrepreneurs. A friend of his who had launched In & Out Smart Repair in Lafayette, La., reached out to him to help grow the business. “He had five core stores in Louisiana and Mississippi, with 10 franchises. On a piece of loose-leaf paper, I planned 75 stores all over the nation. One year later, we had 75 franchises in 15 states.”
About the time he turned 35, Bollinger decided he had done enough for himself and offered to share. “I’d lived a full life. But I felt my wife hadn’t had the same opportunity,” he says. “She’d been following my pursuits.” So he asked her what she wanted to do.
Joy Bollinger asked if they could move to Redding to become involved in Bethel Church, which she’d discovered online. “She wanted to raise our kids in this environment,” her husband says. “We felt like we could come up to a higher standard of living there.” He traded all his interests in the franchises for one store of his own, which he opened in late October last year, right next door to AT&T on Hilltop Drive.
My father always said, ‘Location, location, location,’” says Bollinger with a grin. “On our first Monday, we were open until midnight. That’s when I knew we had hit the jackpot.” Within two weeks, Bollinger hired Pickard, a trained tech from Germany, who had also come to Redding to join Bethel. “I repaired phones here for two years before we met,” says Pickard.
The two techs pride themselves in a one-hour turnaround, unless they need to order a part. Waiting customers can shop nearby stores Trader Joe’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods or Kohl’s, or they can relax in the plush front waiting room while browsing used smart devices that come with a lifetime warranty. In & Out Smart Repair has posted business hours, but, as Bollinger says, “If the lights are on, come on in.” •
835 Browning St., Redding • (530) 691-4353
Closed Sundays • www.inandoutsmartrepair.com