As you may have noticed walking down Main Street the past few weeks, two new shops have opened in the space that was once Swain Sports. Anticollections and Notebook Tek are the products of business partners and former classmates Frank Biondo and Wesly Aldrich.
Frank Biondo had the vision for Anticollections after working for many years as a bill collector. He said his concern lies in the lack of education and communication between lenders and borrowers, and his goal is to bridge the divide.
“Student loans are overwhelming,” said Biondo. “They are lent with absolutely no consumer protection at all. It’s not hard for someone to default on student loans.”
According to Biondo, there is currently more student loan debt than credit card debt in this country. “The delinquency is so bad that people are having money taken out of the social security check for student loans,” he said.
Biondo said students and parents alike are walking onto college campuses under the delusion that they can trust the lending system, when in fact, it’s just another business looking to make a profit.
“The majority of the country does not realize that student loans lack every form of consumer protection available,” he said. “They target the most vulnerable people … They’re all profiteering.”
His tips for students and parents are this: Figure out what your monthly payment is before you borrow money, update your mailing address with your lenders and keep a specific track record of what you borrow and from who you’re borrowing.
“I take someone who is overwhelmed on student loans or losing money, and I’ll reset their loans,” Biondo said. He educates and guides them on how to pay back their debt.
Biondo said there are options for people with student loan debt. “There’s loan forgiveness, subsidized repayment or even settlements that can really free up somebody’s life,” he said.
The other half of the shop is made up of Notebook Tek, specializing in computer sales, maintenance and repair.
“Notebook Tek is a completely different type of computer shop,” said Biondo, who serves as the store’s sales manager.
According to Biondo, the most common laptop failure is heat, which is indicative of a hardware failure. “A lot of times when that happens, you’re informed by the manufacturer that the motherboard needs to be replaced,” he said. “We actually take the motherboards out and replace them.”
Notebook Tek formerly served as an online business. When the space on Main Street opened up, however, Biondo and Aldrich decided to make use of it.
“Basically we were looking at a better retail area, either Henrietta or Geneseo,” said Aldrich. “Swain Sports closed so it kind of made our decision for us.”
“We’re both from Livingston County, and we have a good customer base from our Avon shop,” Aldrich said. “So moving up to Henrietta, we definitely would have lost more customers.”
Biondo also noted Aldrich’s skill in computer repair as a major benefactor to the business’ success.
“[Aldrich is] incredible,” said Biondo. “He goes out and looks for trending computer issues and find a way to fix them.”
Notebook Tek also sells new and used laptops at discount prices.
“We take very high-end laptops, refurbish them and sell them at a quarter of what they sold for a few years ago,” said Biondo, “People may be hesitant to buy a used product, but once they use an Elite Book they go, ‘Wow, this blows what I could have bought at Wal-Mart out of the water.’”