Ever since the latest Seattle Times article on Mr. Montgomery and yours truly I receive a lot more telephone calls. The calls are mostly from folks outside of Washington who read the latest article in their local paper after the Associated Press picked it up. The people on the phone typically want a few things. Many want to buy a typewriter they have seen on the for sale page of www.typespec.com and of course I’m all for that! A few want to chat about their experience with favorite machines or to relate to me their love of typewriters. I can talk about typewriters ALL day! That means I chat with a person for hours on the telephone about our favorite topic.
Some folks who call want to send me a typewriter to repair. Now, I understand when someone reads stuff in the newspaper it sparks them to action. Even I am prone to it, look what happened when I initially read the article in 2014 about Mr. Montgomery! Another example; I read the new donut shop just opened on sixth street in Bremerton so I stopped by to try them out (twice so far). Dallas Donuts, check them out.
Where am I going with this? Oh yes, I’m finding that people, when faced with something new, do not explore all the options and instead have a tendency to immediately react. I’ve seen it time and again with all sorts of subculture, and for good reason. Take beekeeping for example; when faced with trying to learn beekeeping, while there is a great support network out in the Bee-o-sphere it is not readily apparent where and how to find the help needed to be successful. I am learning it is the same with typewriters. I’m sure that during the time typewriters were at every desk in the office and home, it was quite easy to find a shop that sold, serviced and had the right accessories. Now, not so much.
So it comes to no surprise to me that when a person calls from, let’s say Denver (or Dallas) they feel we are the only qualified shop to repair their machine. I’m not a big fan of shipping typewriters, having repaired so many from shipping damage, so I try to help. There are plenty of qualified typewriter repair shops, it just happens we are a bit spread out. Instead of driving them to do another interweb search on their own, I find out where they are located, I get on Richard Polt’s web site referencing repair shops http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-repair.html then tell the person on the telephone the name and number of repair people close to them. Then, if they want to explore more I share the web links to get them started.
OK, let’s keep going down this rabbit hole. The other day, a person who needed a new Hermes 3000 platen searched the web and came up with J.J. Short and Associates (the company who recovers platens). His search did not come up with local repair shops nor Steve Dade’s contact info for platen recovery. Here is what I think about; this a human issue (not knowing specifically what to search = search parameter limitation), web search engine logarithm or just another niche industry not well represented in the interwebs. In my own web searches I see often it is the last item.
When I bought this typewriter repair shop, I was forced into having a web presence as Mr. Montgomery had already built and published his own business web site (and a damn fine one). When I asked Leslie Newman, who designed our new web site, how I could be represented on the internet she was clear it is not just with one web site. For people to find the internet resources needed to make good decisions (such as platen replacement) a typewriter shop needs to maintain a web site, maintain activity on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and assure the business information is up to date on review sites such as Yelp.
Boy, all these thoughts from an increase in phone calls to the shop!