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Bainbridge firm now selling notebook computers
A local computer business that has kept a low profile on Bainbridge Island for more than 20 years is now offering retail computer products for sale.
The parent company, Fetraco Corp., is offering three different laptop computers through its retail division, Notus Notebooks.
Fetraco is owned and operated by Ricardo Fleischfresser, a Brazilian who opened a computer parts distribution office here in 1989 and has been a manufacturer’s representative for Compal Electronics since 2000.
Compal, a Taiwan-based firm that manufactures products in China (Hong Kong, primarily), is expected to ship an estimated 56 million notebook PCs in 2011 (second worldwide to Quanta), many of which Fetraco will send to Brazil.
Brazil and other South American countries have restrictive import laws that protect their work force. Because of that, Fetraco ships mostly “bare bones” notebooks that are then assembled in the countries for their retail markets.
“We are independent of Compal in that we are exclusive reps in South America,” said Mark Lovejoy, who manages the local office for Fleischfresser.
“When we export to Brazil, for example, we take the computer we bought directly from the manufacturer, take off the keyboard, the DVD drive and LCD panel from the body, then ship the computer and the rest as separate parts” he said. The Brazilians, in their effort to protect jobs, then reassemble the computers for retail sales.
The complicated procedure involves many puzzle pieces and keeps Fleischfresser, an island resident since 1989, busy whether he’s flying to a warehouse in San Jose, Calif., or Miami, Fla., or to plants in China or Brazil.
“My focus is keeping this going and it’s pretty time consuming,” he said. “But we decided we also wanted to try a joint venture by selling computers locally and regionally.”
Fetraco now has a seven-person office on Bainbridge, which recently received its first shipment of 60 computers for retail sales. The office also includes a service operative.
“We can compete with most retailers because we don’t have a middleman like they do,” Lovejoy said. “We offer everything else a dealer does, including repairs on the spot or providing a replacement. We have a one-year limited warranty on the machines, too.”
Notus Notebooks currently offers three Compal computers (13.3, 14 and 15.6-inch models), all of which come with 2GB RAM and a 250GB hard drive. The 14 and 15-inch models also have a DVD drive. Costs range from $335 to $375 to $436, with a 64Bit Windows 7 Home Premium installed for $125.
“This is a good machine that might appeal to users who are computer savvy and don’t want to buy a product with a lot of software they won’t use,” he said.
If they want to add Office or Photoshop, for example, they can buy the software retail and load it themselves. The company is a registered reseller of Microsoft Window and is licensed to load that operating system.
“We feel it’s a product that is especially good for businesspeople,” Lovejoy said. “They’re nice little machines and we use them extensively in our office. I have Photoshop on mine and it works great.”
Fleischfresser said it makes sense to begin selling here because of the island’s demographics.
“It should be a good trial balloon for us,” he said.
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