Laptop firm opens first trade store

UP FOR GRABS From left, Liam Smedley, 25, Mark D'arcy-Burt, 27, and Jim Johnston, 26, have hundreds of refurbished laptops on offer.    Picture: Malcolm Wells (110929-5953)
UP FOR GRABS From left, Liam Smedley, 25, Mark D'arcy-Burt, 27, and Jim Johnston, 26, have hundreds of refurbished laptops on offer. Picture: Malcolm Wells (110929-5953)

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A COMPUTER company which began four years ago in a family home in Waterlooville has now opened its first trade counter to the public.

Grabalaptop, formerly known as Solent Laptops, has opened its doors to the public at premises in Farlington.

It previously only traded over the phone and internet but now, thanks to founder Mark D’arcy-Burt selling part of the business, the cash injection has helped the firm grow and expand its operations.

The trade counter was due to open before Christmas, but had a set-back after thieves struck the premises in December.

Liam Smedley, the company’s operations director, said: ‘They were thorough – they brought bolt cutters and everything. We had a couple of really nicely-lit glass display cases and they smashed all those – but the laptops inside were just dummies, so they got away with nothing.’

The company has since upped its security, and is now happy to be open to the public.

Grabalaptop takes second-hand top-of-the-range laptops and PCs, refurbishes them in the workshop, and then ships them to customers in the UK.

A three-year-old Dell laptop, that would have cost around £2,000 when new, is sold by the company for around £160.

It is not unusual for them to have bulk orders for business users looking to save money, as well as other pre-owned computer sellers.

‘No-one else is really doing it,’ said Mark, 27.

‘We keep growing, which is great in this climate, and we’re turning over about £250,000 a month.

‘We’ve now got 10 staff on the books, and things are pretty good.

‘I suppose the next stage will be getting a shop somewhere and then moving into other fields.

‘There’s only so much you can do with laptops.’