Self-taught entrepreneur is living her passion

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A one-time waitress and interpreter, little did Ismerai “Meri” Navarro realize a dusty box full of broken cellphones would change her life.

Navarro, at the time, worked at a pawn shop.

“I was only doing activations and selling the phones,” she said. “This was when the iPhone 3 came out. They were either damaged or something was wrong them, and we were getting a bunch of phones back. We’d just keep them in a box.”

Navarro had the same phone.

She wondered if they could be repaired. So, she spoke with a computer tech in the shop and asked to use his tools. Navarro methodically removed the parts from one phone and placed them into another.

Her idea worked.

The shop owner hired a computer tech to instruct Navarro how to fix iPhone 4s.

“I love technology [and] once I started in that field, I knew this is me,” Navarro said.

Seven years later, she has her own business.

The self-taught entrepreneur celebrated the grand opening of iTech Muse LLC last Tuesday morning at 410 NW Center St. The store is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Along with her repair service, Navarro plans to sell iPhones and accessories such as cases, speakers, headphones, tempered glass, pop sockets and chargers. She can also unlock passwords, recover data, unlock a network if the customer prefers to switch carriers and remove Google accounts.

Navarro said that phone repairs (including Samsung, LG and other brands) can be done on site, either as a walk-in or by appointment. Customers who need assistance with either laptops, iPads or non-Apple devices should schedule an appointment.

A deposit may be required depending on part availability.

“On laptops and tablets, I have kept them for three days or as long as a week,” Navarro said. “It takes me anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to fix a phone... fast, if I have the part in. When the part arrives, we will call them and [I] can have the phone ready the same day.”

Now that she’s learned the components of phones online, Navarro plans to delve into micro-sautering. She has contacted two professionals, one in California and the other in the United Kingdom, and is absorbing what each is teaching online.

Navarro hopes to attend a workshop in California and purchase the necessary, but expensive equipment, to perform micro-sautering in her store. She mentioned the inconvenience that Apple customers face since the closest store to diagnose issues with iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macbooks and other products is in Raleigh.

“I’m really looking to expand,” Navarro said. “I have a big vision of working under all of those big phone companies like Verizon, AT&T, US Cellular. There’s nothing like this around here. None of the phone companies do repairs. They send them out.

“It’s kind of like an inconvenience.”

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