ALGONQUIN – When it comes to running a successful technology-based business, Ryan Hagen’s philosophy is simple – adapt or die.
The owner of Home and Pro Studio – Foxtronix has had to tweak his business model to keep up with a society becoming more and more dependent on technology, a business that started in a basement and now runs out of a storefront in Algonquin.
“You have to constantly make adjustments; that is just the way the world is today,” said Hagen, whose business sells refurbished Apple products and offers repair services. “People need to stretch their dollar a lot further than they ever have, and we have to adapt.”
A 1995 graduate of Johnsburg High School, Hagen went on to attend the Ohio and Illinois Centers for Broadcasting and also has taken classes at McHenry County College.
He also was a deejay for more than 18 years, spinning at various nightclubs and bars throughout the Chicago area and suburbs.
“I thought I wanted to do radio, but the first gig I got was $6 an hours from midnight to 6 a.m.,” Hagen, 35, said. “Being able to deejay at 18 years old was an easy choice.”
Then in 2004, iTunes was launched, and Hagen came up with a “crazy idea to create an iTunes platform for deejays,” he said. “Little did I know there were other companies with millions of dollars doing the exact same thing.”
After stops at Sam Ash and Guitar Center, Hagen became interested in Apple computers, and while still working on his MP3 download website, he opened a store in Schaumburg selling electronic equipment in 2006.
“When [the website] failed, I kept selling audio equipment and computers,” Hagen said. “The first three years I did very well. It was a nice thing, making money in my later 20s.”
He moved himself and the business back home when the economy went south in 2007. A large portion of the business includes selling the refurbished items on eBay and online to other clients worldwide.
As his family grew, he decided to open the store at 109 E. Algonquin Road last November.
“It made a lot of sense financially,” Hagen said. “If I could slowly make a transition off Ebay and do things locally, that makes sense. I have so many customers from Chicago, music friends, and people I have met over the years.”
The business now includes two full-time employees and one part-time worker.
“The biggest change was starting to repair things,” said Hagen. “I used to sell 7,000 Apple systems like it was nothing, and that totally went away.”