Passion for computers, Flint drives small business owner

FLINT, Michigan -- Growing up in Flint, Jackie Earley’s passion for computer technology started at a young age. Earley, as young as 6-years-old, would unknowingly delete software on his mother’s computer to play Diablo 2. He quickly learned after his mother had their computer repaired twice that he had developed a deep interest in the inner-workings of computers.


Now at 31-years-old, Earley is the owner of CompuNinjas (1202 S. Grand Traverse Street), a computer repair and technical support shop.


“I wanted to create a good, honest repair company,” Earley stated. “This is what I love and where I see myself staying for quite some time.”


Earley's interest in computers grew more focused in high school when he became a certified technician through his school’s skill center. After high school, he landed his first computer repair job at ATR Computers.


At 22, Earley started to do things by himself. “I kinda did my own business helping family, friends, and referrals.”


In 2013, Earley made a big change in his life. He joined the Army as an active duty infantryman. He deployed to Afghanistan and served for three-and-a-half years.


After returning home, college and a focused education in computer science felt like the next step for Earley. “It was stressful for me to reintegrate. Life is short and people take it for granted,” he said.


Earley never gave up on his passion and his skills. He continued to work for other repair companies but also kept his small business open at home.


“The reason why I really started doing this thing is because I got tired of seeing how other companies take advantage of people,” Earley said.


In 2018, Earley spotted a small building on Grand Traverse Street, right as we realized he needed a more accessible location rather than working from his home. He contacted the building owner and bought the building soon after.


“At the very beginning I thought maybe it wouldn't go well, but it started just picking up a lot,” he said.


Earley’s passion for his business also flows over into his love for the city of Flint and his neighborhood. Earley is the Grand Traverse District Neighborhood Association vice president.


“Besides being born and raised here, I feel like Flint needs a lot of work,” Earley said. “There are a lot of positive people actually trying to come in to help and assist to make things better. I could have opened my company in Grand Blanc or Fenton, but at the same time it is nice to have a company in the Flint and downtown area. We are going to service everyone around here with honest and cost-effective services for computers versus being taken advantage of.”


During the pandemic, CompuNinjas has been serving customers by appointment on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. He can be contacted for appointments or questions on his website.


“I do a lot of desktop repairs, phone repairs, and screen repairs,” he said. “But a lot of people don't know that I also refurbish systems and that I have a lot of accessories and I sell computers here. I have a lot of refurbished laptops and desktops. I build brand new desktops and I can customize as well. If you want something you can't exactly get from Best Buy, for a business for example, I can customize what you need and get you taken care of.”


Earley’s biggest supporter has been his wife Aislynn. As a team, Earley and his wife plan to continue to be part of the change and hope for the future of Flint.


“I can do it here. It’s not impossible to do,” Earley said. “If there is something you're really passionate about doing, it might take you some time. It took me a very long time to get to this point. I persisted and here I am.”

Read more articles by Jenifer Veloso.