Due to its propensity to solve the most frustrating of technological disasters, UBreakiFix has now become more than just a device repair store.
It has become a teaching tool.
"You actually see a lot of parents come in with phones and iPads, because nowadays, everyone’s kid is playing with their iPad or phone," said repair technician Landon Mirisciotti. "So the kid will eventually break it. And the mom brings them in and says, 'Tell them what you did.' The kids are all scared when they come in that it can’t be fixed, so it’s pretty funny."
Mirisciotti is the manager of UBreakiFix, an electronic repair store located at 12420 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City. And in the midst of the technological era, Mirisciotti and his technicians have mastered what most of society, especially Angelenos, struggles with on a daily basis: fixing their electronic devices, and fixing them in a timely fashion.
"People will be waiting outside before we even open, if they have to say catch a flight in two hours and need their phone fixed," Mirisciotti said. "They’re very skeptical when they come in. But we can basically give them a brand new phone."
UBreakiFix got its start near Orlando, Florida in 2009, and opened the doors to its Studio City location in May of 2011, one of five Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley locations, including Northridge, West Hollywood, Marina del Rey and Pasadena.
And according to Mirisciotti, a number of the most common repairs, including cracked iPhone screens which devastate the user and draw laughs from their colleagues, take less than 30 minutes.
"With the cracked screens, we have to take apart the whole phone, but we do it so many times a day, it’s like second nature," Mirisciotti said. "People think they won’t get their phones back for like two days because that’s what they’ve been told at other shops. But 30 minutes is actually slow for some of us."
Ironically enough, a store that provides a much-needed service, namely fixing iPhones, has successfully been flying under the radar.
"A lot of people don’t know about us," Mirisciotti said. "There are a lot of repair shops that are around, but some of them can be pretty sketchy. The customer may not be as comfortable."
Cracked iPhone screens and iPhone button repairs, according to Mirisciotti, are the most common repairs performed at UBreakiFix, but in many cases, those with iPhone malfunctions or screen damage are unaware that a repair is even possible.
"A lot of people just don’t know about their phones," Mirisciotti said. "People will go to Apple and swap out their phone for $200, when the only thing that’s wrong is the Home button goes out, which happens a lot."
Several iPhone repairs cost below $100 at UBreakiFix, including a cracked iPhone 4 screen, which costs $90 to repair and includes a price match guarantee, as well as a 90-day warranty.
Included in the group of clueless iPhone owners are in many cases, Apple employees, the same that might push replacement phones that cost over $300 as a part of their day jobs.
"Because Apple doesn’t do repairs, they always tell you to swap it out," Mirisciotti said. "But we can fix all those problems. Literally, we get people from Apple in here all the time. We get Apple employees who don’t know what’s going on with their own Apple phone."
Among the repairs that the technicians at UBreakiFix are able to accomplish fixing headphone ports, phone volume, the home and power buttons on the iPhone and other cellular devices, repairing the front and back glass on the iPhone, battery issues, and sometimes, water damage.
"Water damage is more of a 50-50 type of repair, but I’ve seen phones that have been completely submerged and we’ve been able to revive them," Mirisciotti said. "On the flipside, I’ve seen cases where people barely sweat on their phone and it gets to a certain area, and it doesn’t work."
In addition to iPhones, Ventura Boulevard’s technology wunderkind repairs gaming consoles, laptop screens, iPads, and nearly every form of smartphone, as long as it is not too ancient.
"People’s phones are everything and that’s what makes this such a great business," Mirisciotti said. "It has your business information, your family stuff, all your phone numbers, everything is in there. It gets to the point sometime where people can’t open their phone up and they just had a baby, and they can’t get any of their pictures. And they’re like begging us to get it to work. And even if we can’t get the phone to work, we do our best to get the information off of it.”
In the midst of repairing phones and rewiring iPhone motherboards, Mirisciotti explained that the UBreakiFix staff, composed of mainly students and what some would classify as the "younger generation," has found time to incorporate another service: schooling the "older generation."
"Sometimes, older people will call and ask how to use their phones," Mirisciotti said. "They don't know how to use the touch screen or they might just ask why the phone died. And most of the time, it's simple stuff, like the just need to charge it. A lot of us just grew up with technology. The older generation, it’s not so much that they can’t use it or don’t know how to use it, it’s just they didn’t grow up with it."