A Washougal-based computer sales and service shop has survived and even thrived while competing with competitively priced “big-box” stores like Best Buy and Walmart in nearby Vancouver and Portland and online computer retailers.
David Lamb Sr., president and chief technical officer of Silver Star Computers and Solutions, attributes his business’ success to personalized assistance and competitive prices on sales and service.
“We offer true solutions and not just quick fixes to a myriad of issues,” Lamb said. “We have extensive knowledge of Microsoft, Apple, Google and Linux products and services. This allows us to help almost any computer user and company. We are able to bypass passwords, retrieve lost data and so much more.”
He said Silver Star Computers and Solutions has tripled its business in the last four years, since he and his business partner Ken Huckaby, incorporated the company and started offering support for a majority of operating systems, including Microsoft, Apple, Linux and Google.
They sell new laptops and tablets, as well as refurbished computers. Open Office, anti-virus software and a program to play movies and burn DVDs and CDs are included with each refurbished system. The shop also sells computer parts and accessories, including routers, digital video recorders, monitors, cameras, power cords, mice, microphones and card readers. All used hardware comes with a 90-day warranty.
“If you have an issue after 90 days, we will still want you to come to us. So, we will normally waive labor or split the costs,” Lamb said. “It just depends on the situation and how long it has been.”
The Silver Star staff even checks in with customers on Fridays, to make sure they are happy. And staff computer technicians provide house calls for computers too cumbersome to transport.
“We truly want return business, and you only get that by taking care of your customers,” Lamb added. “I would like to think we do that.”
Lamb is a Microsoft Certified Technical Support and Microsoft Certified Professional with more than 30 years’ worth of computer experience. He is a former director of network operations and security for Safetec Software and a technical support representative for Stream International.
Lamb said several businesses use the Silver Star information technologies and server services.
“We are able to provide the computer systems and servers these companies need since we have most items needed in stock or can obtain them in a rather short amount of time,” he said. “Since we have the knowledge and experience, we can install and maintain these devices and services.”
Lamb was a Silver Star customer before he became a business partner.
“I needed a technician, then partner,” Huckaby said.
Huckaby, a Silver Star co-owner since 2011, has more than 50 years of experience working on computers. After serving as a communications specialist in the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1970, he worked as a computer operator for Gym Dandy, in Louisiana, and the Kanawha School Board in West Virginia. Huckaby owned Bits and Bytes, in Vancouver, from 2001 to 2010.
Lamb’ son, Brian Lamb, a technician at Silver Star Computers and Solutions, has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Washington State University-Vancouver.
Susan Graves, the officer manager at Silver Star since 2015, said desktop computers can be built to customers’ specifications. They purchase refurbished computers from colleges and government entities.
The local business, originally named Computer Surplus by then-owner Steve Kaiser in 2001, became Silver Star Computers and Solutions four years later, when Brian Fleck purchased it. Kaiser bought it back in 2007 and Huckaby became co-owner in 2011.
Silver Star’s future includes a remodel, and the business’ owners are buying the property in the hopes of expanding.
“We are here to stay,” Graves said.
Silver Star Computers and Solutions, located at 1022 “E” St., Washougal, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call 360-335-0802, email email@example.com or visit silverstarcomputers.us.