|by Fay Jacobs|
|What's a GigaBeach?
A GigaBeach is pretty much like a Gigabyte, only different. In computereze, a gigabyte is a whole lot of information. GigaBeach is the name of a computer business that can provide you with a whole lot of informationand it's right here at the beach.
Started by Karen Harris and Doug Hydier, GigaBeach provides computer repairs, upgrades, training and a whole lot more.
In fact, Karen and Doug find that GigaBeach, located in a small space on Route One at 15 The Marketplace adjacent to Food Lion, is fast becoming a hub for all kinds of information, community referrals, and networking.
Between a community bulletin boardboth the cork kind and the virtual online kindand the dozens of business cards and brochures available there, GigaBeach is by parts computer hardware workshop, classroom, internet caf (without the coffee) and meeting placein person or online.
For Karen and Doug, this gig at GigaBeach is a dream come true. Corporate world drop-outs, the two friends shed their business attire and got into beach mode to open their little shop. Since the October 2004 start-up and now, the pair have developed a following and bailed out lots of folks suffering from fear of software, finicky hard drives and dastardly viruses.
But getting the word out hasn't been easy. They started the business with very little capital and a lot of heart. Their goal? To help people navigate the technical world of their computers. Oh, and make a living, too.
According to Karen, in the corporate world there is so much red tape to wade through before you can help people that it became a huge frustration.
"Yes, we want to make money," says Karen, "but what we really want to do is help people; educate them about the computers they need to succeed."
I might have thought that was a great public relations line if I didn't find myself, fifteen minutes into the interview, getting free advice on how to overcome my own ineptitude with Microsoft Excel.
But sure, giving free advice to an interviewer is one thing, but GigaBeach will also provide freepositively freetraining to any minimum wage worker or unemployed person who wants to master the computer. Now that's a way to help people.
"Many computer related companies today will take advantage of people that are not well versed in the tech industry," Karen says. "Even if people do not hire us to do the work, we can make certain they have all the information available to them and a complete understanding of the task at hand so they can make the best possible decisions for their business and/or family needs, and we will do this for them free of charge, because you should never pay for a consultation."
As far as the classes offered, Karen calls them fun. In fact, she just had a group of senior citizens at her keyboards trying to enter 21st Century technology. "One woman was 87," Karen says. "She was great. And the senior really enjoyed the class. It was a riot."
Karen has also helped entire Brownie troops get their computer badges, assisted CAMP Rehoboth with the Splash Dance and lent a hand to many other local charities and organizations.
The small office holds six computer stations with comfortable chairs. Customers can rent the computers by the hour, or, if they have their own laptop, customers can use the wi-fi service for free.
Karen is the front of counter person, running the classes and dealing with customers while Doug hovers over his workbench with a collection of tools, cables and computer innards. He's the repair wizard.
And the quiet one. Although he did second Karen's comments about the frustrations of the corporate world and how much better it is to be able to help peopleand then get a few hours at the beach when you can!
One thing the business has is a sense of humor. Their newsletter, Gigabuzzzzz lists classes, computer tips and information about specific computer programs. But it also includes cartoons, jokes and a clever contest each month. The latest game is to win a snazzy computer keyboard and mouse.
Both the newsletter and GigaBeach web page (www.gigabeach.com) also helps promote community activities. GigaBeach is a sponsor of the 2005 Splash Dance and has donated a great deal of computer graphics assistance to the event's fundraising effort.
Sandra Pace, a member of the Splash team says of GigaBeach, "We would have been seriously impaired in our fundraising efforts had it not been for their donation of expert assistance."
Jane Blue, chair of Splash '05 agrees. "Karen has been a huge help. She's always available at a moment's notice to fix something or put something on a disk for me. It's great having her as a resource."
So if you need a gig or two of information about your computer, GigaBeach is the place to start. They are making a name for themselves in the community, having left all that red tape behind and really getting to the point where they can help anybody who has a computer question. And that's a gigabunch of folks. Call Karen at 302-226-5424 if you need help!
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 7 June 17, 2005