Jerry Jacobsen had the idea to start a business using his computer hardware and programming skills. His wife, Nancy Jacobsen, had the business experience to get it started.
Together, the pair founded J & N Computer Services Inc. in 1994. The company, better known as JNCS, has since expanded to cover a number of services, including virus removal, consulting and information technology management. It employs 12 people.
"We wanted to create a business that allowed people in Rochester to be able to stay here to take care of their computer needs," says Nancy Jacobsen. "We work with anyone from individuals to businesses to educational institutions."
Building custom-made computers has become a special focus for JNCS, she notes. The company works with clients to identify their specific needs and then puts together a computer that will meet those.
Often, that can mean a fast and powerful computer, Jacobsen says.
"We go in and listen to what they need their computers to do, and then custom build them to meet that exact need," she says. "We've worked with day traders in New York that are incredibly fast, because for them a moment of hesitation can cost thousands of dollars."
She says other clients who make a living gaming also need the fastest hardware possible.
"We're the company that builds that for them," Jacobsen says.
Though the company often works one-on-one with clients, JNCS also has a website that allows shoppers to browse through different categories, including desktop computers, notebooks and motherboard bundles. The site lists prices for the services and products, including $125 for virus removal and $325 for a JNCS dual processor system build.
The company's computer listings are split up into different categories for shoppers, including all-in-one business computers, value options and those for gaming and entertainment.
Customers also can buy individual components as needed, including video cards, wireless components and optical drives.
Though JNCS is Rochester-grown and operating from Fairport, Jacobsen says it is not exactly a mom-and-pop business. In its 18 years, the company has grown to cover clients in all areas of the country, and it has 25,000 clients in all.
One of those clients is a telecommunications company in Alaska trying to bring coverage to remote parts of the state. JNCS is working with the company as it builds servers and workstations, Jacobsen says.
The company prides itself on customer service, she adds. Because it is small, customers with questions are able to speak directly to the person who built their computers or handles their IT services.
"The thing we've built our reputation on is customer service," Jacobsen says. "People come back again and again because they don't have to call a foreign country to have one of their questions answered."
She says JNCS aims for more expansion in the future. The company is working on a deal that will make private cloud storage available to cover the backup needs of businesses.
JNCS also plans to expand its IT management services, a feature that the company recently began offering.
"With that service, when we build their hardware, we can take it and help them actually run it and their business," Jacobsen says. "Even though we just started that this year, we hope it will be able to grow a lot."
Small Business is a weekly feature focusing on entrepreneurs. Send suggestions for future Small Business stories to Associate Editor Smriti Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org/23/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email email@example.com.