"Sparky" is what people who are having computer problems call him. But his real name is Charles Sparks, 54, of Lehigh Acres, who operates a small business set up to fix just about anything that is wrong with your computer, and at nominal fees.
He even accepts phone calls from those with questions and says he will do his best to talk people through some problems.'
His official address is 270 Beth Stacey Blvd. He is located on the north side of the Lehigh Acres Flea Market, which is accessible from Beth Stacey Boulevard or Homestead Road, next to the Lehigh Senior Citizen Center.
Joey Sund and Charles Sparks work to repair a computer.
Working with Sparky is Joey Sund of Fort Myers, who is an apprentice and his assistant.
"A lot of times when people show up, she can take care of things if I am working on a particular problem with a computer," Sparky, as he prefers to be called, said.
He gives a lot of credit to a fellow friend and employer, Roland Sorrano who sells and repairs computers at the flea market on Martin Luther King Blvd.
"He really taught me a lot of what I know. He was very knowledgeable with computers," Sparky said.
Fixing things, as Sparky likes to say, has been something he has enjoyed since he was a youngster.
"When I was a kid, I took an electric clock and took it apart just to see how it worked. But I forgot to unplug it and boy oh boy, did I ever get a shock," he said.
"But I unplugged it and went ahead and took it apart to see how it worked and I was able to put it back together in working order,"
Originally from Pittsburgh, he has lived in several other areas before coming to Lehigh Acres.
He can do anything a customer needs if there is a problem with a computer, or with connections with plugs and other devices.
"Many of my customers are older than the younger generation and they may discover a problem that can be fixed simply. I tell them what to do or ask them to bring it in and often I don't charge them if it is a minor problem," he said.
You can't miss his office and work place. There is a shell of a Del laptop computer next to the door which readers either open or closed. He's there most days but may close by 3 or 4 p.m. He does not work on Sundays.
You can reach him by calling 239-243-3733.
"If they call me and I can tell them what to do, there is no charge. If it is more complicated, I ask them to bring it in.
Sparky's office and workspace is not very large. It is filled with new computers, rebuilt computers, keyboards, other devices, and lots of other things that larger box stores that repair computers even have.
Computers change a lot with newer models. What happens to someone who has to buy a new keyboard and they get one with a USB attachment. Well Sparky can fix that. He has connections to plug on to make the computers work.
He said that most of the problems hee sees on computers that have broken down are attacks by viruses, and black screen problems with memory on the computer.
"I can even customize a computer. A lot of people these days want a different color than just black. I can sand down the outside of the computer and prepare it for any color they want. That is becoming more and more popular today," he said..
He suggests that since Lehigh and Southwest Florida have become known as the "lightning capital of the country," that people take care to purchase backup batteries which can range from $60 to $150, or to have a very good device that will keep your computer from being hit by a lightning surge.
Sparky says a lot of his business involve tune-ups just like your can needs a tune-up from time to time.
"It usually means a good cleaning inside and doing upgrades to the system. I find a lot of dirt behind CPU fans and unless you know what you are doing, you are safer to have a professional to clean out the dust from the inside of your computer.
What a lot of people don't realize that the small fans in the computer gather a lot of dust, sometimes more than you can belive," he said. ":I don't recommend that computer owners open the sides of their computers. They can do real damage."
Even though his work space is tight, he thanks Mike Lietke and his assistant for the help they offer in storing parts and computers.
Like Sparky said, he is there most of the time. His hours are generally from 7:30 a.m. to 2 to 3 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.
His prices are reasonable by any standard and cannot be compared to the big box stores which charge high fees for computer repairs. Sparky can even rebuild your computer for a low cost and you will have a completely new computer.
One of his plans just down the road is to set up a "public computer" so folks can come in and use it to fill out applications online to find employment.