Who We Are
We are a small family business located in central Maine. The Stereo Doctor was "officially" established February 25th, 1991. I, A. Peter Lahaye, have been doing component-level electronic repairs since 1983. I've always had and passion for electronic repair & music. How fortunate was I to be able to finally combine the two! In my adventures of learning electronics repair & starting my own business - I've also learned a lot about computer service & web hosting.
How We Started
1986: The business name came from a nickname I was given in the Army barracks for helping people out with their stereo issues. I was known as "Doctor Stereo" back then.
Early 1991: After making some contacts with a local TV repair shop, I saw an opportunity to start a small, part time business repairing home & car stereo gear in my shed. I already owned the basic test equipment needed, since I had been in the electronics service field since 1983. Thus began my journey... with no start-up costs, minimal telephone directory listings and word of mouth advertising... I struck up an arrangement with The TV Man in Manchester, Maine. He had his hands full servicing TV's & VCR's, but also had quite a bit of stereo equipment coming into his shop. He subcontracted the stereo repairs to me, and things grew from there. All this while working full time for Dorler Communications as a 2-way radio repair technician.
By late 1993, I had to do something to make a change. I was spending 10 hours a day away from home working for Dorler, and spending 4-5 hours a night in the shed doing my own repairs. My wife & I bought our first house, and a month later I gave my notice to Dorler!
Early 1994. Commercial rent doesn't come cheap... so I opted to go mobile. I took a retired but respectable full size ambulance and made it into a mobile repair shop. It had a workbench, AC, power, heat, phone, ample storage, and consumed lots of gas with a 460 cubic inch V8!
I lived with the gas mileage because the truck was a fantastic rolling billboard that caught most everybody's eye. I used the ambulance exclusively for close to 4 years till I outgrew it. I needed more storage for customer equipment, and needed to reduce time wasted driving to my customer locations.
May 1997. I was offered an affordable rental space from Pavlov's Music, who had just moved into a much larger store downtown Augusta. That was definitely a smarter move for me. Business has continued to grow, I have much more space to work, and much more time to get work done. My volume of work has steadily increased since becoming stationary. So much so that I could be more selective on what I service. I stopped working on car stereo equipment, VCR's, boom boxes.
2004+ Business focus has continued to shift along with consumer trends. Our primary work has been with home audio equipment, professional sound gear and computer service. We also have taken on some web hosting for several non-profit organizations, small business and personal use. Since using and maintaining my own computers has become essential in the business operation, I've been able to offer that service to my customers as well.
2008 We are moving to the space beside the existing shop to gain a bit more space and have a much more efficient layout. Expanding to 3 work benches to allow repairs to run and make sure they will be working stable prior to returning. Things were getting a bit too cluttered in the original location (that's what happens when you're a pack-rat).
2009 Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have relocated to 151 Water Street downtown Augusta. Capitol Computers has agreed to lease space to us to allow us to continue serving our customers. Moving a business is never fun and puts a huge dent in production. We settled into the new location quite well and got back on track.
2015 It's time to make a change. After 24 years of never knowing how much or when I was getting paid, no paid vacation, no paid sick time, etc... I decided to seek full-time employment with the Maine State Government. February 2015 I was offered a full-time job as a computer field tech. I plan on continuing the business in a reduced capacity serving customers by appointment only. I hated giving up my self-employment freedom, but the financial stability will be a huge stress relief and I can better provide for my family.
(more coming as life goes on...)
My Work Experience
1983 - 1987 Employed in the U.S. Army as a field radio repair technician... servicing AM / FM receivers, transmitters, power systems... to module and component levels.
1988 - 1989 Employed in custom electronic assembly... building military control & data equipment, incorporating military weapon spec precision hand soldering.
1990 - 1994 Employed as an electronic bench technician... servicing mobile & fixed 2-way radio, pagers, antenna systems, power systems... down to component levels.
1991 - present Self employed electronic bench technician... servicing home stereo components, video components, camcorders, automotive sound systems, game consoles, computer workstations, notebook computers, professional sound equipment, electronic musical instruments, professional electronic instruments, electronic test equipment... all to component levels.
My thoughts on immigration.