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Renaissance Man

From retail to radio, this computer guy is in the know.

Few retailers would purposely turn down a sale, but that's exactly what John Frazzini did when an 80-year-old couple came into his store looking to purchase a computer. As the owner of three Computer Renaissance stores in the Chicago area, Frazzini refused to sell them a computer when they couldn't tell him why they wanted one.

Instead of recommending an expensive, high-speed, top-of-the-line machine, he signed them up for his free introductory computing classes. When the couple returned with their answer, Frazzini returned with a system to fit their needs.

From the weekly in-store classes and build-your-own-computer workshops to the children's computer stations, Frazzini knew from his beginnings in 1999 that he wanted to "provide the community with knowledge." Bringing his technological knowledge to the radio airwaves seemed the next logical step.

Now heard twice weekly on local AM stations, Frazzini is looking to spread that knowledge further by possibly syndicating his shows, expanding into cable television and opening more stores. "I'm providing a community service," the 56-year-old says, "but I'm also reaping the benefits."

With his Joliet and Schaumburg stores tacking up $1.6 million in 1999 sales, he expects to hit $2.5 million this year with the addition of a store in Chicago. "If it were just hardware, I'd go out of business. I can't compete price-wise with the Internet or the 'big boxes.' But when I add all these other aspects, they can't compete with me."


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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Renaissance Man.

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