ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2016) – Chris Johncke, ’08, founder and CEO of iFixYouri, attributes his success in life to the laws of attraction: If you exude positivity, positivity you shall receive.
It’s how the UCF alumnus credits building his company from a Craigslist ad to a 15-store-and-counting enterprise – one that has grown so much it is now the official device repair shop of the Boston Red Sox.
“Who would think that fixing phones would get you tied in doing business with the Red Sox?” Johncke said. “It’s an honor and a testament to hard work. If you put forth hard work, you’re going to get great results. If you’re going to put out positive energy, positive things are going to come back to you.”
Johncke did not set out to create a burgeoning technology business. iFixYouri is a result of a Plan B.
After graduating from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology, Johncke started working for a tech company in Lake Mary. When the economy dipped, Johncke was laid off.
The South Florida native moved back to the Palm Beach area and lived with his sister Michelle while he job hunted. To supplement his unemployment checks, he advertised computer repair on Craigslist.
He stumbled into the phone repair business out of necessity. When his own cell phone screen shattered, he figured out how to fix it on his own to save himself Apple’s repair fee.
When his friend asked him to fix her phone, too, Johncke updated his Craigslist ad and started driving around Palm Beach to work on customers’ devices with supplies he stashed in the trunk of his car.
“I always had an entrepreneur’s mindset. I always wanted to own my own business,” Johncke said. “You never know how things are going to pan out, but if you tell yourself something enough, you eventually figure out your path.”
Johncke’s business has now blossomed to more than a dozen stores and a mail-in center in the Palm Beach, Central Florida and Boston-area regions. With half of their stores in Central Florida, including one across from UCF’s main campus, they currently employ roughly a dozen UCF alumni or students in addition to students from Valencia College and Seminole State College.
“We pride ourselves in being a business that’s been founded by Knights,” he said.
His sister, Michelle Zausnig, ’03, an advertising/public relations alumna, joined the team in 2011. She described a feeling of similarity in iFixYouri’s growth with that of UCF’s rise in notoriety.
“When I started, nobody really knew who UCF was. Over the years, UCF became such a big thing,” she said. “It’s the same thing when I talk about the company we have here. Chris started from the back of his car and … it’s been nonstop, explosive growth throughout the years. It carries that same sense of pride that I had seeing UCF grow so much.”
iFixYouri fully supported a Pulse tribute mural painted on the side of its Mills 50 store.
Johncke and his team are loyal to their roots. It’s important to them that the company maintains a close-knit feel within the local community.
That’s why Johncke whole heartedly agreed to have a Pulse tribute mural painted on the side of the Mills 50 District store on the corner of Colonial Drive and Mills Avenue.
“I gave them free reign to put whatever on the building. [Artist Andrew Spear and Mills 50 executive director Joanne Grant] came up with a great concept, and the feedback from the community has been amazing,” he said. “Being that’s such a highly trafficked intersection in the Orlando area, it spreads a lot of care and love. It’s something for not only iFixYouri, but for everyone that lives in Orlando. It’s something they can be proud of.”
Johncke’s love for the city seems to go hand in hand with his feelings about his alma mater.
“What UCF gave to me was an education that was second-to-none. I was able to learn who I am and what I want to do,” he said. “Some of my best friends that I have to this day are UCF Knights. It wouldn’t have been possible to get on this track right now had it not been for all the resources that UCF was able to provide for me.”