GOOD RECEPTION: Cellular Medic was born in 2009 in Massachusetts, expanding to a second shop on Atwells Avenue in Providence in March. Pictured above are co-owners Eli Acevedo, left, and Derek Coelho with customer Raylah Philip.
PBN FILE PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
By Rhonda J. Miller PBN Staff Writer
One week after the iPhone 5s came out, the Cellular Medic shop on Atwell’s Avenue in Providence had four calls about repairing the new Apple phone.
“People dropped them,” said owner Derek Coelho, whose goal is to minimize that potentially nerve-wracking time of being disconnected from a smartphone. “Our goal is to get people in and out in an hour,” said Coelho.
Timing is everything at Cellular Medic – more exactly, part of everything that represents traditional measures of good business.
“We provide fair, honest, reliable and fast service. We’re the type of business that if we repair your phone today and you have a problem six months down the road, if you’re in the system with the same phone, we’ll give you a discount because you’re a repeat customer,” said Coelho.
“We get a lot of students. They break their phones,” Coelho said. “We have a lot of faculty come in, especially from Johnson & Wales.”
Public servants, including police officers and firefighters, also get discounts at Cellular Medic. That could be a tribute to Coelho’s first intended career – when he went to Bridgewater State University, he planned to be a police officer. Many members of family are police officers and it seemed like his natural path.
Then he got married and had a child. Having a child made coming home every evening jump to the top of his priority list.
Coelho worked in construction for 10 years, until the company he was working for downsized in 2009.
“I wanted to do more with my life, but I wasn’t sure what it was,” said Coelho. “So I stayed home for six months to figure out what I wanted to do.”
Not knowing it would be a move that defined his career path, Coelho bought an iPhone off Craigslist. He had a problem with it, so he went back onto Craigslist to find someone to repair it.
“I went to the guy’s house on a Friday night and he replaced the battery and the speakers,” said Coelho. “I was in and out in 10 minutes and he charged me $80. I noticed there were four other people in his kitchen waiting to get their phones fixed.”
Suddenly, a bolt of entrepreneurial lightning struck.