Scott Smith says he’s “been online since there was an online”-he was AOL’s 3,000th customer-so it’s only fitting he now runs a business via the Internet.
When he grew tired of having little or no job security, Smith opened Computer & Software Exchange in Akron and worldwide at www.computerexchange-akron.com.
Smith buys, sells, trades, upgrades and repairs computer hardware and software.
“I deal 98 percent with preowned equipment and software,” Smith says. “We’re shipping worldwide using the Internet as a medium for commerce. People see the online ads, we negotiate a price via e-mail and the items are shipped,” Smith says. “I’ve never met many of my customers.”
With new online customers, Smith usually requires a check or money order in U.S. dollars before products are shipped. Once a relationship has been established, however, items are shipped before a check arrives.
One of Smith’s highest-volume exports is more like a relic from the computer age’s distant past.
“I specialize in Commodore systems and software,” Smith says. “The schools and missionaries in Kenya use Commodores. One of my customers there has [approximately] 1,000 different titles of Commodore software.”
Smith has also found markets for these obsolete antiquities in India, Pakistan, Ghana, South America and parts of Asia.