There can’t be many mobile phone shops across the UK that leave customers confused as they walk through the front door. But that is exactly what is happening at KTech in Blackpool.
It’s not the prices or the variety of offers that amazes many visitors. The store opened its doors on Highfield Road in June 2019 and sells the usual screen protectors, cases and repair services.
The staff, on the other hand, some find a little more unusual. They are all women.
KTech is a family business owned by Courtney Smith and Sarah Hammond. Courtney’s mother, Anna Heard, also works at the store.
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Sarah said the inspiration came after spotting a niche market for a phone repair shop on Highfield Road. Sarah and Courtney decided to take the plunge and open the store, which was originally six doors down from its current location.
The past four years have been described by the family as a rollercoaster ride. Courtney said: “We’ve been pretty lucky because we have a lot of loyal customers. A lot of our business comes from word of mouth, so maybe we’re helping a little old lady who has no idea how to use her phone, but then she goes and sits in a coffee shop and tells all her friends about us.”
The store has become so popular that customers come from Liverpool, Manchester and even the Isle of Man. Courtney says they’ve even had clients waiting for their vacations to have their phones serviced by the girls at KTech, as they call themselves.
However, not everything was smooth. The girls recalled that when they first opened up, many people didn’t want to leave their phone with them because of their gender.
Sarah said, “We have a lot of people saying things like, ‘Can I just talk to the guy, is he in the back?’ We even said they wouldn’t leave their phones with us because we’re girls.
Courtney added: “I’ve been doing phone repairs since I was 16 and when I started people told me I was too young and wouldn’t leave their phones with me even though I could. It just ended. That motivates me more to want to prove these people wrong.”
Anna said: “Word has now gotten around that we are getting so many positive comments. People always tell us they love girls running the place. People come here especially because of us.”
Three years before they opened the shop, Sarah’s son, Kyle Hammond, died of sepsis at the age of just 14. Sarah said the store is just one of the ways Kyle’s memory is kept alive.
She said: “Kyle attended Highfield High School which was one of the reasons we wanted KTech to be local as it would have meant a lot to him. He was very tech savvy himself and loved opening up phones and watches etc to see how they worked.
“He has three younger siblings and his 17 year old sister Tasha also comes to KTech and has learned how to fix screens. Hopefully one day she will take my role.”
The shop has won three awards since it opened, including Blackpool’s Best Shop, awarded by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton.
One day the girls want to open a second KTech, but they don’t know exactly where.