Electronics repairman starts his own business after losing job to COVID-19 | Local

POCATELLO — Jordan Koslosky was 8 years old when his mother and uncle both broke their new Polaroid cameras and allowed him to tinker with them.

Koslosky, 34, dissected and studied the cameras, salvaging parts from one to repair the other. He made a single working camera that served him well for 15 years.

Now the owner of a new Old Town Pocatello device repair business, Koslosky looks back at that childhood experience as the moment he discovered his career path — giving new life to broken electronics.

Koslosky was the regional manager for Idaho iRepair — which had 10 area locations including a shop at the Chubbuck Walmart — until the business abruptly closed on March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After receiving the bad news, Koslosky sent a mass text message notifying his loyal customers and was immediately contacted by local businessman Dane Simmons Jr., who had just launched a communal workspace in Old Town.

“He said, ‘I’ve got a place for you. Let’s get you started immediately,’” Koslosky said.

Within six days, Koslosky was manning at his own repair business, HUDDLLE Device Repair, 312 W. Center St. Simmons also made him HUDDLLE’s general manager and technology expert. He said office spaces in HUDDLLE’s new facility have been filling quickly. Walmart employees have helped Koslosky’s upstart business by giving him both their business and referrals.

Most customers come to him with broken iPhones. An iPhone 8 sells for $500 to $700, and Koslosky can fix a broken screen for about $100, offering customers a lifetime warranty. He offers a free diagnosis, though more than 90 percent of customers agree to have their devices repaired.

“People typically think, ‘I’ve got this iPhone and it’s probably going to cost me more to fix it than repair it.’ They get a new one and throw the old one away or stick it in a drawer,” Koslosky said.

He also repairs plenty of tablets and TVs. Power boards and T-CON boards — which connect to the display and decipher the signal — are the parts of a television that most often fail. Koslosky can often restore a $1,000 TV that was bound for a landfill to working order for a $100 fee.

He’s repaired a customer’s device used for locating buried power lines.

“It’s very rare that I get something in my door that I cannot fix,” he said.

His skills extend beyond electronics. When Simmons griped that a repairman wanted $400 to repair the ice machine at Huddle, Koslosky identified the leaking part and had it replaced within days — and at a fraction of the cost.

Koslosky also sells new phones and phone accessories, and he buys damaged phones to refurbish. He sells them to customers at about half price and offers a one-year warranty.

He’ll even custom build a computer for a customer. In fact, he plans to turn his desk at HUDDLLE Device Repair into a working computer as a showpiece.

Koslosky was born and raised in Salt Lake City. He’s mostly self taught in repairing electronics. While at Idaho iRepair, he also obtained tier-two certification through Wireless Industry Service Excellence, meaning he’s capable of fixing damage within devices rather than simply replacing entire parts.

Throughout his childhood, he’d take apart any machine he could get his hands on to learn how it worked. He repaired stereos, clocks, watches, video game systems, computers and more.

He moved to Idaho Falls in 1998.

The same technology used to power cellphones has enabled Koslosky to maintain a quality of life. In 2012, he suffered a spinal cord injury that impeded his ability to walk for about two years. In 2014, however, he had a spinal cord stimulator with a lithium-ion battery installed in his back, which has enabled him to return to the gym and go hiking. He recharges the battery weekly by leaning against a pad, and an application is in the works that will enable him to program the stimulator with his cellphone.

In 2015, he joined Idaho iRepair, where he worked for two years before leaving for a competitor. He returned to Idaho iRepair to be the regional manager in 2018.

He said his customers always seem to marvel that he can affordably restore equipment they previously viewed as disposable. For example, an Idaho State Police officer came in with a cellphone that had stopped a bullet, believing it was a long shot that Koslosky could recover the family photographs and information from his device.

Koslosky had the phone working like new within a few days.

He considers it unfortunate that the norm in our culture is to throw away broken electronics that are loaded with parts that be used to repair other devices. He prides himself in offering a service that helps customers reduce their carbon footprint.

“Just because something is damaged doesn’t mean it is worthless,” Koslosky said. “There are people all over the world who have the same device that you have in your hand that’s broken and you need parts for it.”