Sunday, November 9, 2014


                                                  Matthew, Joyce and Ron Harb 

     The uBreakiFix store in Pleasant Ridge Town Center is going like gangbusters.
     Co-owner Ron Harb opened the repair store July 11, and only three months later, opened his second uBreakiFix in North Little Rock.
     "We fixed a computer and two phones yesterday, people just walking in," Mr. Harb said in an interview the day before his shop at the corner of JFK and McCain boulevards officially opened. 
      Shoppe Talk has had experience with the staff at the Pleasant Ridge location and can attest that they are an industrious, enthusiastic bunch of young folks who do not mind taking time to explain problems with a computer in simple terms.  To a man, they were kind and helpful and obviously at the top of their game.   Sitting in the pleasant waiting area, Shoppe Talk also saw lots of customers streaming in and out.  Happy, satisfied customers, many of whom were pleased to have had their cell phones repaired while they waited.
     "It's been doing awesome.  People are really responding to the customer service we provide," Ron said.  "We fix Macs, PCs, game consoles. I've got TVs on the bench right now.  If it's got a power button, we can
fix it.
      "And if we can't, it's free.  We do free diagnosis, and if we don't fix your device, it's free."
     In addition, if it's not in a customer's best interest to fix a phone or computer, uBreakiFix will relay that information as well. 
    "Many times it's more efficient to fix, especially when you have a place you can go with your beloved device.  We fix our stuff right there.  We don't send it out, unless it's a motherboard issue. Ninety-nine percent of our repairs are done on site with great techs and great parts."
     And the cost?  "We can do it faster and cheaper and better."
     Ron added that uBreakiFix guarantees the lowest price - with a like competitor. (Your cousin Fred doesn't count.) 
    The shop also offers a full line of accessories, such as top quality chargers and headphones. 
    And it has a 90-day warranty on repairs nation-wide, which means any uBreakiFix store in the country will honor the warranty given by the Little Rock store. That's handy, if you have a problem with a phone or computer while working out of state or on vacation. 
   When Shoppe Talk remarked on the genuine friendliness of the staff at Pleasant Ridge, Ron said, "We love what we are doing."  You can tell.  It's sincere, and they have a vision and a passion about uBreakiFix.  
    "A lot of people want to work for us. It's a great place to work, and they get to do what they just really enjoy doing.
     "Some places act like they are doing you a favor, and you have to make an appointment … .  We see ourselves as a customer care service company that does repairs."
      Ron owns the Pleasant Ridge store with his wife, Joyce.  His son, Matthew, also works there.  
    "Joyce is the president.  We call her 'Madam President.' It's a family business, and everybody at uBreakiFix is like family."
     Ron got into the repair franchise after a 40-year career in the bond business. He opted for uBreakiFix after research into the success of the business and after meeting the two young men who started it.
     "Justin Wetherill and his friend David Reiff started it in '09 in a bedroom (at Justin's home).  Then they took over the house."  After about four months they had their first store.  "A little over a year ago, they decided to franchise."
     And now it's a $1 billion business. Ron said uBreakiFix now has 97 stores.
    "We are the undisputed industry leader," Ron said.  "We test our parts. We buy from the highest quality vendors. "It's thrilling to be working with some bright, hardworking young people who have a vision and know where they want to take the company.  We were so impressed with what they developed.  And we are thrilled to be a part of it."
   The Pleasant Ridge shop has performed "above expectations," Ron said.  "The customers feel the same way we do.  They enjoy the service.  They can watch TV and wait on a repair.  It's a good feeling."
   Ron and Mrs. Harb are working on opening a third store.  "That's the model for us.  The more stores we open, the stronger our brand recognition."
    The Pleasant Ridge Town Center store is located at 11525 Cantrell Road, #915, between the Sky Modern Japanese and Little Greek restaurants.  It is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. You may call it at 225-4349. 
    Ron said that he and Joyce wanted the first one to open in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.  
   "It's delightful.  There's just a lot of traffic out there and great shops.  Lou and his team do a really good job of managing the property," he said of Lou Schickel, developer and owner of Pleasant Ridge.   We really wanted to be there for our first store.  It's a very nice neighborhood."

This story first appeared in the November 2014 issue of Shoppe Talk.  It was written by Bobbi Nesbitt.  The photograph is by Kelley Naylor Wise. 

100th Birthday of Daisy Bates Celebration

     The 100th Birthday of Daisy Bates Celebration will be held noon to 2 p.m. November 11 at the Clinton School of Public Service.  
     Ernie Green, one of the Little Rock Nine, is the speaker for the free event.
     Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was a civil rights activist in Little Rock who played a leading role in the integration of Little Rock Central High School by the Little Rock Nine in 1957.   She died in Little Rock on November 4, 1999. 
     Mrs. Bates and her husband, L.C. Bates, moved to Little Rock in 1941 and published the first issue of the Arkansas State Press that same year.  The eight-page weekly advocated for civil rights and published accounts of black Arkansans' achievements. 

     Daisy Bates and L.C. Bates.  Mr. Bates is wearing a press badge and camera, apparently representing the Arkansas State Press, their newspaper.  (The white man is not named in this undated photo.  Do you know his identity and the occasion?) 

     Mrs. Bates in Little Rock Circuit Court after being fined $25 for refusing to produce the membership rolls and financial records of the Arkansas NAACP, of which she was then president.  Her lawyer, Robert L. Carter, seated with her, said he would appeal the judgement. 

     After nine black students were selected to attend Little Rock Central High School, Daisy guided and advised them on enrollment in the previously all-white school.  At the time, she was head of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People's Arkansas branch.  Her home became the headquarters for the successful integration push.  In 1957, the Associated Press named her Woman of the Year in Education. 
     In later years in Washington, D.C., she worked for the Democratic National Committee and served in the administration of President Lyndon Johnson working on anti-poverty programs. 
     Little Rock named 14th Street, the street that runs to the north of Central High, for her and also named the Daisy Bates Elementary School in her honor.  In 1984, she was given an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Arkansas.