V.A.M. bits and bytes – Our history

VAM Computers was started February 2nd of 1996 by three people. It could easily stand for ‘Very Advanced Machines’ but it actually comes from Kyle “Viper” Fegan, Alexander “Axel” Giger and Dave “Marauder” Kratky. The name “VAM” is a combination of the first letter of our internet/BBS aliases. It may not be the coolest name  but it’s a name that has become synonymous with service and knowledge in the computer field.

Our reason for starting the company was simple. There was only one computer store in Dufferin County at the time. We figured it was time for some variety and being computer hobbyists with $200.00 in cash, we started our new business. We ran the business out of Alex’s basement and back yard shed for the first year or so. The first service job we ever did was to upgrade a 486 dx 33mhz motherboard to a 486 DX2/66mhz!

An opportunity came up to move to a store front in Shelburne in 1997. At this time Kyle left the company to pursue college and other commitments. The store was a perfect venue for us to pursue our passion for computers and we remained in Shelburne for a year and a half. Bryan Momm and Kevin “Dark Siege” Tate were a great help to us in keeping things running as Dave was working full time nights as well as running the store during the mornings and early afternoons. After re-evaluating our goals in early 1998, we decided it was time for another move to a larger population centre with better demographics. On May 1, 1998 we opened our current location in Orangeville at 75 First St.

We shared our opening day with Steve Henry and the folks over at the Hurontario.net internet provider. We resold internet service for Steve from the time he was with Headwaters and after he moved to his new company.

1999 – Dave took the leap and started working at the store full time after the company he was working for (Hughes Motor Homes) went out of business. Best. Decision. Evar.

In July 2000 we hosted a large LAN Party (Local Area Network) computer gaming event (FRAGtopia 2000) at the Orangeville Curling Club. The event was attended by 70 people from all over the GTA.

In 2001, we started selling used computer systems along with our new products. We also began providing more web  design and web hosting. We continued to expand our product lines. After Hurontario.net tanked and was bought by a larger provider we switched to Execulink for dialup and high speed internet services. We also held the second larger  LAN party event at the curling club in July called FRAGtopia 2(001). Gamers from as far away as California attended including Pappy-R and his staffers from Planet Quake along with Team S3 and Team Tribes Canada.

In 2002 we expanded our used line to include more monitors and complete systems as well as parts and software.  Al “Skeezix” Herman joined the team in the tech and sales department.

2003 was a big year for us. We ceased to sell most software as it was not the area we wanted to specialize in.  Instead we further expanded our product line to include Thermal Take performance cases and cooling solutions, Sunbeam lighting kits and acrylic cases. We completely renovated the store with new paint, cabinets, shelving, carpeting, lighting and ceilings. Later this year, Dave bought Alexander’s part of the business and became the sole owner. This move allowed Alex to focus on family and other commitments.

2004 was our best year since we started thanks to our returning customers! We really appreciate your business.  Al moved away from the area in September (we miss you, man!) and Matt S started with VAM. We enlarged our tech room to better serve our growing clientele. With increasing demand for on-site technical services, our on-site guy, Darren Maunu has been kept hopping!

In 2005 we added Arctic Cooling to our product line. We also started reselling for Linkdata, a wireless internet company. Tim Coburn joined the staff and brought his expert knowledge of PCs, all versions of Windows and Linux systems. Tim handles the technical side of our web business. Most of our on-site technical support is still handled by Darren Maunu. In late 2005, we discontinued internet services by Linkdata as they failed to meet the high quality service we expect for our clients.

By the time we celebrated our 10th anniversary on Feb 2, 2006, VAM was well known in Dufferin County for computer repairs/sales, new computer systems, technical service and reliable, efficient services to create an online presence. We also started carrying the MSI line of quality notebook computers. Thanks to everyone who has supported us and trusted VAM to keep them up and running over the years!

In 2007, with more and more people dropping their old PCs and monitors off with us for disposal, we hooked up with the folks at Electo-Shred to properly dispose of our customer’s old unwanted gear. Tim got a job with another firm in town that allows him to use more of his high end technical skills but will continue to run the web servers for us.

2008. Feb 2nd: It’s hard to believe we’ve been in business for 12 years. Thanks to everyone who’s supported us all this time. We appreciate your business.

After four years with VAM, Matt S left in August and is on his way to the University of Toronto to study law. Thanks for everything Matt its been great to work with you buddy. Due to the increasing demand for our various services Brett Hill came onboard to help with onsite services and Ian Coburn is our new web designer. This year we also achieved gold reseller status with Startech (one of our major suppliers) and we received the Banner Reader’s Choice Award for best computer repair store in Dufferin County. Thanks for voting for us.

2009 – Justin Somerville joined our team in spring on a part time basis and we received The Banner Reader’s Choice Award for best computer repair store in Dufferin for the second year. Thanks to everyone who voted for us. We also picked up the Renew line of re-manufactured inkjet cartridges. Quite a bit cheaper than new cartridges with comparable print quality and they’re also good for the environment. A win win all around.

2010 – As our web hosting, registration and design business has continued to expand we’ve moved our hosting servers to a larger provider to allow for many more hosting features for our customers. We’re also dealing with Greengo Solutions  from Barrie to have 100% of our E-waste disposed of properly.  Xan Lazaridis is now working with us in customer service, Jordan “Skippy” Van Allen joined the team for a co-op placement in September and we were awarded the Banner Reader’s Choice award for best computer repair shop for the third year in a row. A huge thanks to everyone who voted for us.

2011 – David Rood joined the VAM Team in February of 2011 for a few months on a part time basis and left in late April. Bill Patterson (of Topper’s and Subway Fame!) and Victoria Ball (Formerly manager of EB Games) joined the team. On April 1st.2011 we celebrated our 15th anniversary with cake from Robin’s Catering and a plaque from the town presented by Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock. A big thank you to everyone who’s supported us over the years and trusted us to keep them up and running. Jordan finished his second co-op placement with us June 2011 and in September we won the Banner Reader’s Choice award in the Computer Repair Category for the fourth year running. Thanks for your support, Dufferin! Our web hosting and design business has continued to grow.

On November 14th, after fifteen and a half years Dave has stepped down from the company’s day to day operations but will continue to own the business and oversee operations. You can read his thoughts on this change here. Bill and Victoria will be taking over the day to day running of the store. Also in November 2011 we were finalists in the Hills of Headwaters “A Taste of Tourism” awards in the Best Customer Service Experience category.

2012 – We manged to fight off a massive hacker and spam attack on our web servers in early March. We’ve changed all of the passwords on the server as a precaution which resulted in some unfortunate inconvenience to our customers but this time around the good guys won. 🙂

In mid March Victoria left Victoria Ball left the company for opportunities elsewhere, including her own small business: Bubble Pop Anime. http://bubblepopanime.com/. We wish her all the best in the future and welcome Chris “Dragon” Novak to the team. A long time customer, Chris is an avid gamer and computer enthusiast and we’re looking forward to working with him. In August we were honoured with The Banner’s Reader’s Choice award for best Computer Repair Shop in the Dufferin area for the 5th year in a row. Thanks for all your votes and support this year!

2013 – So far it’s been a busy year. This spring Darren has taken a personal leave of absence, Brett Hill left our service team for a full time position (Best of luck Brett!), Terry Crocker joined the team on a co-op placement and in May we were honoured to be nominated by the Greater Dufferin Area Chamber of Commerce for their Skilled Trade Excellence award.

Chris Novak left in October for other ventures. We wish him all the best! At the same time Terry Crocker of co-op placement fame has returned with a full time position in sales and service.

2014 -In June we became an official collection site for Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES). Bring us your E-waste and we’ll see that it gets diverted properly at no charge.

In August, Gary Elford joined us in August 2014. Gary has had a long career in computers and technology sales down in the big city and finally decided he’s tired of the drive. Welcome aboard Gary!

Also in August, Terry Crocker left to pursue  higher education and we received The Orangeville Banner Reader’s Choice Award for the sixth year in a row. Thanks to everyone who voted for and supported us.

2015 – VAM Computers has again won the Orangeville Banner Reader’s Choice Award. Thanks to everyone who voted for us!

In November Bill Patterson left to pursue other opportunities. We wish him well in all of his endeavours.

2016  – In January, Ken Riley has started doing onsite service for us. Ken’s a great guy with the skills to pay the bills and he’s looking forward to helping out our onsite business and residential clients.

As of Feb 2nd, VAM Computers has been around for 20 years! Where did the heck did that time go? It seems like just yesterday we were hanging the sign on the door in Alex’s back yard shed. So many memories and so many great people.

Once again, we’ve won the Orangeville Banner Reader’s Choice award for best computer store in the area. A huge thanks to everyone who voted for us. Your support means everything to us.

10December – Better late than never, we had our 20th anniversary celebration at the store. The Mayor dropped by, presented  a plaque and hung around for the day. (He was actually by twice as he arrived a few hours early. Love that enthusiasm!) Lots of other friends, clients and former staff dropped by to have cake, coffee, check out our museum and share stories. Amanda’s Country Bakery provided the amazing cake and Xan from Cosmos Art Company did decorating, photography and treats. Afterwards we held a staff/former staff dinner with more stories and laughter.

2017 -January:  Ken Riley has joined the VAM team for in-shop and onsite service and we’re lucky to have him!  In February we got out of the web hosting business after 12 years. Unfortunately, given changing nature of the business and the size of some of the companies getting into hosting, it’s no longer a viable part of our business. Thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Dufferin Reader’s choice award as we again won first place in Computer Repair and Service.  In the fall, Carlos Pennant joined the team for his co-op placement term.

2018 – A huge thanks to everyone who voted and pushed us to the top yet again in the 2017 Dufferin Reader’s Choice awards Computer Service and Repair category. We look forward to continuing to earn your trust serving you with the best service and products in 2018!

Congrats to Derek @ Bennett Consulting Computer Services for placing as well!

2019 – Mike Ward has joined the VAM sales and service team. Welcome aboard, Mike!

2020 – VAM Computers is 24 years young.  As usual, it’s hard to believe that many years has passed since 3 young nerds around a kitchen table decided they were going to start a computer business.  Business is easy, right? 🙂

18Mar: Ugh, COVID19:. We closed the shop to comply with government orders and to figure out how we’re going to handle the COVID19 physical distancing situation.  On 20April we reopened the shop by appointment only and increased our capacity for remote support. The response has been great, thank you so much for your support!

18June: We’ve placed first in The Orangeville Banner Readers’ Choice 2019 awards for Best Computer (store?) and Best Computer Service/Repair. Thanks to our VAM team for providing great client service and support. You guys rock. Congrats to Bennett Consulting, Shelburne Computer, Tanaraus and Plug and Play Computers for placing as well.

Thanks to everyone who voted for us and for your continued support over the years.

Renew (makers of third party and refilled ink cartridges) has shut their doors and we’ll no longer be carrying ink.

2021 – Well, COVID is still a thing, so that sucks.  On the other hand, it’s our 25th year in business! Thanks to MPP Sylvia Jones, Mayor Sandy Brown and MP Kyle Seeback for dropping with plaques and photo op.  Hard to believe it’s been 25 years since we opened.

We also received Diamond in The Orangeville Banner Reader’s Choice awards for best Computer store. Congrats to Best Buy (Geek Squad) and Staples for also placing.

COVID reared it’s ugly head yet again and we were closed for the last 2 weeks of December and first week of Jan 2022. Go away COVID, no one likes you.

2022 – Mike Ward departed VAM in January.  Thanks for all your work Mike, and best of luck with everything going forward. In Feb, Tricia Hunt joined the customer service team.

We placed in The Orangeville Banner Reader’s Choice awards yet again! Thanks to everyone who voted for us and for your continued support. It means more to us than we have words for.

Special Thanks

A very special thank you to all the other folks who’ve helped us around the store over the years and didn’t get mentioned above, such as Charlie “Kingchameleon” Lafave, Gavin “Red Leader” MacRae, Jay Roth, James “PenguinBoy” Giovanetti, Joe “Dopper” Dopp, John “MrEMahn” Domik, Nolan “Nolman” Evans, Richard Masters, Rob “Praetorian” Darling and anyone else we missed.

Without all of the great people who have worked at or hung out around the store we wouldn’t have the great memories and VAM wouldn’t be the place it is today. Much love to you all.

About Our Logo

The original VAM Logo was a red check-mark V with A & M underneath it and was similar to our current logo. It was designed in 1996 by Kyle Fegan. In 1997 John “Joshua” Lawson told Dave that he had an idea for a better logo and a few days later dropped off a floppy with his new artwork on it. John’s design has clearly stood the test of time as we’re still using it today.

The current logo has the same red check-mark but with some rounded rather than all sharp edges. The A is the outline of a 5.25″ floppy disk and the M is the outline of a 3.5″ floppy disk. At the time the logo was created floppy disks were still the primary method of storage for most computer users. The day will come that no one knows what a floppy is and think it’s just a cell phone save icon.