Michigan company helps consumers do their own repairs at home, work

CANTON, Mich. - Julia Nicolaou sees appliance repairs at her Royal Oak salon as a welcomed challenge.

"It's not that hard. It's the fear that's holding you back," said Nicolaou, who owns Aqua Salon on West 4th Street. "As a small business owner, my job is to make sure that we stay in business, we stay profitable and our business keeps going. You know, we cannot afford any down time."

Especially problematic is when her washer or dryer breaks down. Nicolaou said she runs the appliances 24/7.

She started tackling repairs herself 10 years ago.

"Now I don't have to call the guy and say, 'Hey can you come over and look at my dryer?' And $200 later, he spent 10 minutes just replacing a fuse or something like that. Something minor," Nicolaou said. "A lot of times I would do it in the past and I would say, 'Can you tell me what you did so I can do it myself?"

She said the secret to her success is where she gets her replacement parts: RepairClinic.com.

The Canton-based company ships replacement parts across the U.S.

Inside the Michigan Avenue warehouse is more than one million parts for 160 brands of appliances, heating and cooling and outdoor equipment including snow blowers and lawn mowers.

"We're shipping thousands of orders every day," said Kimberly Messer, vice president for the supply chain.

Jody Lamb, public relations manager for RepairClinic.com, said what sets their company apart from others is the help they provide customers. It has about 2,000 "how to" videos to help customers walk through the repair process. The company also has a call center that's open from 7 a.m. to 7  p.m., and customers can also chat online.

The company says it's focus is on the consumer.

"We really want to make sure we can help them figure out what part them need, how to prepare it and get them the part quickly," Messer said.

RepairClinic.com, which has been opened since 1999, has plans to expand it's existing warehouse.
"We're seeing this do it yourself movement is not going away. It's not a fad or a trend. The more people can see that they can save considerable amounts of money and there are credible resources like RepairClinic.com, we know their is own growth from here and we're very excited to continue to expand," Lamb said.

Metro Detroit customers can pick up their replacement parts from RepairClinic.com's warehouse within an hour of ordering the parts.

Nicolaou is grateful for the help. She said she is now seen as a bit of an expert amongst family and friends who also need help with repair projects.

"Once you get in there and open up the scary top of the range or whatever it is you're like, 'OK I can see this. It's not so bad. There is a couple of wires, one goes here, one goes there, I can do this. Oh my God, I just saved so much money and look what I did. I thought I would never do this by myself," she said.

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