Carrie Rengers

River City iRepair to open downtown

The impetus for 23-year-old TJ James new River City iRepair first came when he was a child, but it wasn’t because he longed to be an entrepreneur.

James simply enjoyed taking apart phones and putting them back together.

“I kind of started when I was a kid,” says James, who most recently was in car sales.

“I’m really, like, an Apple fan,” he says. “I’ve got everything Apple.”

James says he learned how to take apart an iPhone and put it back together on his own.

Then he bet his friend $100 that he could do the same with an Android phone. The friend said if James was successful, he could just keep the $700 phone. That’s what happened.

Though he’s mostly self-taught, James says he has a mentor, Jacob St. John, who helped him learn the business as well. He then approached him to financially back his store.

“What do I have to do to make you believe in it?” James says he asked St. John. “Finally, he just believed it.”

River City iRepair will have a grand opening at Eaton Place in Old Town on Wednesday.

“I’ll buy, sell and trade phones and fix them,” James says.

He’ll also pick up and deliver phones seven days a week.

“I’ve seen all the development downtown,” James says.

“I just kind of like what’s going down there,” he says of other businesses. “I’m trying to be the downtown trend, I guess you’d say.”

Also, James says he likes the central location of the store.

Some people find their callings in college or once they’re in the work world, but James says he just happened to stumble onto his without immediately knowing it as a kid.

“It’s my niche, so I kind of ran with it.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers