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UNITED CAMERA & BINOCULAR REPAIR (Bensenville; for addresses and contact information, turn to page 80) has garnered a loyal following for its fast turnaround (most cameras are repaired and shipped back 24 hours after the shop receives them), sped up by the large parts inventory on-site. The firm repairs film and digital cameras, film and slide projectors, lenses, and flashes from brands including Canon, Nikon, Kodak, Samsung, Fuji, Minolta, and Olympus. INTERNATIONAL CAMERA in the Loop carries a big inventory of parts and can repair film, collectible, and digital cameras and camcorders. Point-and-shoot digital camera repairs average $50 to $65, while camcorder repairs generally range from $95 to $145. ROYAL CAMERA SERVICE (Glendale Heights) repairs digital and film cameras, projectors, camcorders, lenses, and flashes, and MID-STATE CAMERA SERVICE offers repair service in the Loop on digital and film cameras and camcorders.


T. Kelley Boylan runs his one-man computer business, ZEN SUPPORT, out of his Lake View home, offering phone and in-home tech support for hardware, software, anti-virus, networking, Internet, and all other computer issues on both PCs and Macs. Boylan, who has written four books about computers and has been working in tech support for about 20 years, does not charge for phone estimates or for offering tips to customers who are shopping for a new computer. “I don’t nickel-and-dime for those kinds of quick issues,” he says. PRO COMPUTERS offers both in-shop and on-site services for desktops, laptops, and networking for homes and offices. Twelve “geeks” are available through Chicago-based VIP GEEK, which provides on-site help for hardware, software, Internet, and networking solutions. The owner, Ray Smilgius, says his techs also provide computer training during the call. “We educate the customers on how to prevent the problem from happening in the future, so we’re proactive while we work,” Smilgius says.

GEEKS ON CALL sends its experts for in-home and in-office troubleshooting, networking, and upgrading; the cost for fast fixes averages $99. ALERTANERD.COM makes house calls, usually within 24 hours of the initial request, and the Geek Squad at BEST BUY repairs computers and provides networking services both in-store and on-site. (The computer need not have been bought from Best Buy.) Although all of the aforementioned companies can service both PCs and Macs, Mac users can go straight to the source at the APPLE STORE’s Genius Bar, which offers free consultations; repair work estimates vary. But just showing up can be a gamble—sign up for an appointment first at apple.com.


The sheer breadth of repairs that Anthony Failla performs at ANTHONY’S ELECTRONIC SERVICE would be hard for large chains to match, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that Failla, who opened his Lake View shop 13 years ago, does all of the repair work himself. He repairs televisions, DVD players, CD players, stereo equipment, camcorders, deejay equipment, and guitar amplifiers. He also brings turntables and antique radios back to working condition. “And I think I’m the only person in the Chicago area to repair video game systems,” he says. “Usually you have to ship them back to the manufacturer.” He repairs Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation systems.

In 1986, Mike Delvalle opened DELTRONICS (Chicago and Woodridge), and since then it has gained a reputation among musicians and sound professionals for fixing guitar amplifiers, deejay equipment, and professional studio audio equipment. In addition to speakers, radios, turntables, and antique radio refurbishment, the shop also repairs home theatre equipment and televisions. (Plasma and LCD televisions must be taken to the Woodridge location.) 20TH CENTURY TV & STEREO CENTER repairs old equipment, such as turntables, VCRs, and tube televisions, in addition to receivers, video equipment, speakers, and televisions (up to 36 inches for tube and up to 42 inches for plasma and LCD). The specialty at TV JOHN in West Ridge is televisions, particularly the old tube variety, in addition to LCD and plasma screens and up to 32-inch DVD players. The electronics and appliance powerhouse ABT ELECTRONICS (Glenview) has an extensive repair department on-site that can repair any item the store sells, even if you bought it elsewhere. SEARS offers in-home repairs on large-screen televisions and entertainment systems and in-store repairs on smaller electronics. BEST BUY repairs most audio and video equipment and electronics. Ipods and other Apple-related electronics can be repaired at the Genius Bar at the APPLE STORE.


Since 1964, Steve Kazmier, the cheerful owner of INDEPENDENCE BUSINESS MACHINES, just east of Lincoln Square, has been bringing manual and electric typewriters back to working order, including the old Royal, Smith-Corona, and Underwood lines that have become heirlooms for many. Family-owned WAGNER OFFICE MACHINES first opened almost 100 years ago and has been in its current location on the South Side since the early 1960s. Although most of its business is repairing computer printers and copiers, the shop still does a brisk business repairing most models of manual and electric typewriters. DAVE’S TYPEWRITER REPAIR (Morton Grove) has been repairing typewriters and selling replacement ribbons for 50 years. And although Mike Frazier of DEACON MIKE’S TYPEWRITER REPAIR (Carpentersville) sold off the majority of his repair shop after 40 years in business, he still repairs typewriters out of his home. Call to schedule an appointment.


Illustration: Charles Wilkin

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