Educomp was started on June 28, 1982 in a 250-square-foot store next to Papa John's Pizza on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Initially, the products offered for sale were Atari computers, computer books, computer peripherals and Atari games. The first customer was Pat Schofield, a friend of Pat and Dorothy Gregory.
The first summer Pat ran the store and the first employee hired was a part-time person. Many days there were no sales at all; there were times when closing seemed the wise thing to do.
The first year, Educomp closed on Dec. 31, and through the winter and spring was open Saturdays only.
In the summer of 1983, Educomp moved into the small back room of what is now the Java Emporium at 94 Main Street, Vineyard Haven. That summer sales increased and the decision was made to stay open through the winter. While there were still days without any sales, things seemed more promising.
In 1984, Pat started working at Educomp full-time, taking a leave of absence from his teaching post at the West Tisbury School. The decision to go into office products along with computer products was made, and Betty Holt became the first full-time Educomp employee. In August of 1984, Educomp became a customer of United Stationers, a major distributor of office products. United insisted on a commitment of at least $1,000 per month, and while there were some early months when this was difficult, the store experienced considerable growth. It was at this time that Dorothy joined Educomp full time and gave up her nursing career.
1985 was a landmark year with Educomp continuing to grow, and thoughts turned toward a larger store. During this time, Charlotte Ford joined Educomp as a new employee specializing in the computer area. In the fall of 1985 a group approached Pat and Dorothy about becoming partners in the rebuilding of what was then the Community Services building at 41 Main Street. An offer was made on the building and accepted by Community Services.
In August of 1986, renovation on the new building started, and Educomp moved into its new quarters in January 1987. Dorothy oversaw the planning of the new Educomp storefront, bringing in professional planners from Detroit, John Greenburg and Associates. Their design, coupled with the new location which included parking, was the foundation upon which the new Educomp would grow.
While the computer sales were still the driving force in 1987, office products started to contribute greatly to volume and profits. In the summer of 1987 the decision to add art products to the store was made.
1988 dawned as the first year of standard working conditions for Educomp. The location was stable, a new computer lab had been added and expanded space in the upstairs offices was taken. The company has continued to grow.
1989 brought several changes, the greatest of which was the total reliance on a computerized point of sale system running under a network from Alloy. This greatly cut down on the need for a separate bookkeeping position. Hence the bookkeeper became part of the sales force. 1989 was also the year of the great Vineyard business slow down. Educomp's sales fell off by about 20% and there were several cutbacks. Costs were cut significantly. Ironically, 1989 was Educomp's most profitable year to date.
1990 saw vast differences in the Educomp structure. Sales recovered from the 1989 low, but did not come back to the 1988 level. Service contracts and large accounts became more of a focus for the income side. In the spring of 1990 when the economy looked the worst, the full-time staff of Ginny Carbone, Charlotte Turgeon, Pat and Dorothy all took pay cuts of 25%. This led to Ginny taking a new position at the Edgartown National Bank, leaving Educomp without a full-time bookkeeper. Given the economy of the year, the position was not refilled. Then in October of 1990, Charlotte Turgeon left the Island and ended her career with Educomp. Charlotte was really the first long-term Educomp staff person. She started at a pay rate of $6 per hour and in 1988 was earning around $30,000. She became an experienced computer trouble shooter, becoming a certified repair person for Kaypro and Leading Edge systems as well as a certified Novell installer and Alloy NTNX installer. Her presence was sorely missed as Pat picked up the repair and support end. Jill Huminski joined the Educomp staff during 1990 and proved a welcome addition.
Sara Magnuson, a former student of Pat's from West Tisbury, joined the staff in late 1990 and took on more time in April of 1991. Sara brought energy and life to the front of the store while learning a great deal about the office products industry. The year ended on a down note and the Island economy seemed to hold little hope of improvement in 1991. John Minnehan joined the Educomp staff as an outside sales person concentrating on the Edgartown area.
1991 started with a busy January, and with lower costs of operation Educomp showed a small profit for the first quarter. However, April once again sent the owners to the bank to borrow $20,000 to tide the business over.
In the summer of 1991, Chris Brown worked one day a week and Tim Gregory worked two or three days each week, depending on the demand. The month of July set a record for the number of transactions, averaging over 90 per day. Much of this was fueled by the expanded art department, which tended to draw people to the store for more casual purchases. Educomp also won a bid to supply the town of Chilmark with four computers that August. Educomp upgraded its in-house computer system from an Alloy 286-based, multi-user system to a Novell server-based network. The in-house system moved up to using a 386-level computer as the server and in general created more opportunity for efficient software implementation. The year 1991 ended with sales a tiny bit above 1990. This was realized with an extraordinary sales day on Dec. 31. This may have been caused by some businesses wishing to get certain purchases into the 1991 tax year.
Brad Mendenhall joined the staff at Educomp Tuesday Oct. 8,1991. He joined in the Thursday night basketball league shortly after that.
Noted Pat at the close of 1991: “A constant goal of the company has been to deliver high quality products quickly and efficiently to its customers. A loyal base of over 800 customers has come into being, and there are reasons for optimism in the future.”
Lauri McNamara joined the staff at Educomp on Monday April 6, 1992, Pat's 47th birthday.
The year 1992 ended on a strong sales note, with sales climbing back to almost $600,000 and consulting/repair income from computers going over $100,000.00. The year's largest sale was to the town of Chilmark and it seemed to mark the coming of age of Educomp in terms of local governments purchasing computer hardware. The computer and art departments led the sales increase column, with office supplies falling, probably due to the continuing recession, but also off-Island super stores. Ironically, when item to item comparisons are made, it is probably less than a 10% overall cost differential between a super store and ourselves.
Brad took classes to become a CNE and Sara started some art classes. Lauri McNamara left Educomp at the end of 1992, expecting a baby in 1993. Noted Pat: “Brad's contribution to Educomp this year has enabled much of the consulting and computer sales to flourish. He has been very active in setting up the school district's wide area network.” Sara was promoted to assistant manager, working closely with Dorothy in the front of the store.
1992 seemed to mark a turning point in the Island's coming to terms with Educomp as its premier computer supplier. 1992 saw increased sales for the third consecutive year, the computer repair department picked up considerably and the arts supply division showed improvement. Office supply sales slipped a little, showing the effects of a slow economy and the increased presence of large super stores on the Cape.
1993 started with a flurry. In March of 1993, Laurie Wray joined the staff of Educomp, working the front of the store as well as receiving freight and putting her computer background to good use. Sara Magnuson took the first Edu-cation of the year to California, and Pat and Dorothy are planning the next Edu-cation. On July 6, 1993, Rachel York joined Educomp in anticipation of Sara's leaving on July 23. Sara left to become married and move off-Island. Rachel started during the hottest days of the year when temperatures were ranging in the 100s, working in the store front as well as helping to receive freight and deliveries. Shannon Gregory joined staff in June of 1993 after working in Los Angeles for a couple of years.
The first Edu-baby, Ashleigh Mary Dexter, daughter of Sara Magnuson, was born Dec. 20, 1993.
1994 started with the entry of two new staff people, April Governo and Philomena Ferro. April was working the front of the store primarily while Ena did bookkeeping work as well as front of store. They join an Edu Staff which had Shannon Gregory, Brad Mendenhall, and Laurie Wray as well as Pat and Dorothy.
The summer of 1994 introduced Edu Copy, a new enterprise which started as a copy center in the basement of Educomp. Edu Copy was started with the able assistance of Jon Mone and Tim Gregory.
The year 1994 was the busiest and most profitable in the history of the company. The year ended with Brad Mendenhall, Laurie (Wray) Turney, April Governo, Pat and Dorothy Gregory and Ena Ferro as staff. Sara Magnuson stopped by to fill in during the early days of 1995 as she spent time on the Island prior to joining her husband in the Navy.
The spring of 1995 started off with a boom. Sales increased, and the Educomp staff grew by three new people, Rich Hammond, Mary Follas and Richie Yuen. Rich was a longtime acquaintance of the Gregorys, having been introduced by Sally Foltz, a 1992 staff person at Educomp. Mary joined Educomp from the Martha’s Vineyard National Bank, as it was assimilated into the Compass Bank. Mary, a former soccer referee, brought her knowledge of the banking world to Educomp. Rich was a manager of many bus drivers in another position. Richie Yuen brought his off-Island experience, having worked at Staple’s previously. Educomp also employed its first consultant, Nedra Wilson, to help set up the new Business Center.
During the last week of April, Hollywood came to Educomp in the form of the movie Sabrina, with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond admiring the exterior of Educomp, which had been made to look abandoned.
On Nov. 11, 1995, Laurie Turney had a baby boy, Joseph, to be called JT. Laurie took a maternity leave starting one week before she delivered the baby.
The year 1996 proved to be the greatest year in volume of charges, again above $1,000,000, just as John Nelson, a friend of Pat and Dorothy’s, had predicted. The increase in sales and consulting was accompanied by increases in expenses, however, and this resulted in lower-than-needed profits. As the year drew to a close, Rich Hammond had left Educomp to manage the Red Cat Restaurant and the computer staff fell to just Brad and Pat. This caused some stress in the computer division when deadlines were difficult to meet. The year drew to a close with several systems awaiting delivery and Brad taking some deserved time off.
Sara Magnuson Dexter provided Educomp with another Edu-baby, Michael Dexter, who arrived in December of 1996. Sara Hopp joined the summer and vacation Educomp staff, providing the first family working relationship at Educomp. Sara is Mary Follas’s daughter and a student at college as well as a part-time Educomp staffer. The Educomp staff increased by one with the arrival of Caroline O’Callahan as an upstairs person. Caroline, who grew up in England, became the second staff person to come from Europe, Ena Ferro being the first. Ena’s family also visited from Ireland, and the whole Island was treated to her mother, Meg. Tim Gregory took the first Educomp leave of absence when he took a year off to travel in Europe. Dorothy, in an unusual move, decided to rearrange the store.
The year 1997 started with a bang as the computer end of the business boomed following several generally solid years for Vineyard businesses. Several of Educomp’s larger customers were forced into upgrades to Windows 95 or Novell version 3 or 4. In March of 1997 Brian Athearn joined the staff of Educomp, becoming the second of Pat’s West Tisbury students to work at Educomp. In May of 1997 Dean Moon, formerly with the Bunch of Grapes bookstore, joined Educomp to oversee the color copy and internet/design aspects of Educomp’s business. Educomp also increased its own internet presence with the addition of a high-speed radio line connected to Vineyard.net. 1997 was a record-breaking year for Educomp. Once again the business broke the $ 1,000,000 mark in total revenues and seem poised to continue the growth cycle.
1998 was marked by the death of a former Educomp staff member’s brother when Ryan Mone, the brother of Jonathon Mone, died in an automobile accident. Everyone at Educomp was saddened, as was the whole Island.
As the year ended, Sara Magnuson Dexter and Laurie Wray Turney rejoined Educomp for part-time work, Sara was visiting from California and Laurie worked part-time through February of 1998, when she took off to have another baby.
1998 started with the usual busy January. A new staff member, Trish Ing, joined Educomp in February as a part of several changes in staff placement. Ena moved downstairs as an experiment in organization, and Brad developed the beta version of the Edubilling package. Dean was also scheduled to move downstairs. In March of 1998, Brandy Lewis joined the staff at Educomp, and Brian Athearn became engaged. Brandy and Trish worked with Mary Follas upstairs to create the strongest front of the store staff yet for Educomp. Liz Andersen and Erika Coynes joined Educomp as part-time staff.
1998 ended as the busiest year in Educomp history and also signaled a change in the direction of the company. For the first time, gross profits from the service end of the business outstripped the sales profits, even though sales profits were at a historic high. Product sales also passed the $1,000,000 mark for the first time in history. 1998 also marked the inaugural of Educomp taking a presence on internet with a sales site of Vineyard-specific items. While it was a modest venture, one CD did sell significantly. Educomp also created a number of new web sites and set up customers with high-speed access to the internet, working closely with Vineyard.Net as a partner in the internet technology. Brad Mendenhall continued to head up the network setup and support of Educomp customers. Many upgrades were started in late 1998 as a result of worries concerning y2k problems.
1999 started with new staff and the creation of a full-time position downstairs. Initially this was filled by Abbe Burt. In early April, Hillary Seaton joined Educomp, working the front of the store and generally learning the operation. Abbe Burt left in early April and Brandy filled in working partly up and partly downstairs. Brain Athearn eloped and married in March. Leslie Robinson joined Educomp, taking the position of phone coordinator and tech support person downstairs. Alex Blakesley, a student, joined Educomp part-time in the spring of 1999, working full-time that summer. The first half of 1999 proved to be the busiest ever in terms of sales and service, and the staff was hard pressed to meet customer demands. For the first time ever, new customers were told there would be a week or more delay in servicing their products.
1999 came to a close as a record year for both services and profits at Educomp. Staff had grown to 11 and David Merna joined the technical staff, bringing a high level of Macintosh experience. As the year drew to a close, y2k preparations engulfed the staff and Educomp patched, tested and generally saw to it that the new millenium got off to a good start.
Year 2000 came in with a fast start, and following the y2k preparations, there were a number of upgrades. For the first time Educomp faced a staffing shortage when two technicians, Brian Athearn and Dean Moon, left to try their hands as independent entrepreneurs. Benoit Baldwin joined the Educomp staff in March of 2000. Brad Mendenhall continued to be the senior technology coordinator and led the Educomp team through a major installation at the Edgartown National Bank during the winter and spring of the year. Tim Gregory stepped in and handled web design. Educomp again set sales records and staff increased to 11 during the summer. Todd Biller joined Educomp in a sales position during the year. Staffing remained steady and Brandie Lewis became the new downstairs technical coordinator and telephone manager. Vineyard.net, the ISP for whom Educomp is a support facility, was bought out by Broadband 2 Wireless, a Boston-based dot-com startup. Unfortunately, BB2W went bankrupt, and Vineyard.net was bought back in 2001 by the original owners, Simson Garfinkle, Eric Bates and Kathy Retmeier.
2001 started with Educomp poised to deliver superior service due to a stable and knowledgeable staff. Benoit Baldwin, a longtime Vineyard resident, joined the technical staff to expand Educomp’s ranks to three full-time techs. Tim Gregory left to complete his engineering degree at Tufts.
The Educomp family was saddened when Betty Holt, a staff person at Educomp (the third employee ever) and longtime personal friend, passed away, losing a long battle with cancer.
In June Corey Turner joined the staff as a summer technical support person. He fell into place immediately, as he had done on-site technical work on the Vineyard previously. Educomp did more work for individuals than previously as Adelphia started installing cable modems and customers needed routers from Educomp to share service across their networks.
The huge story of 2001 was the destruction of Educomp’s neighbor, the Tisbury Inn, in a huge fire on the night of Dec. 14. The Inn was completely destroyed, thankfully with no injuries or loss of life. Sherman and Susan Goldstein, owners of the Inn, moved their offices into the lower level of Educomp and joined the Educomp technicians for coffee every day (actually, the Goldsteins provided the coffee!).
2001 closed out as the most profitable year in the history of Educomp. Income continued to be generated from expanded on-site services; customers tended to be the larger Vineyard businesses, including the Edgartown National Bank, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the towns of Chilmark and West Tisbury as well as Dukes County.
In early 2002, Educomp received the largest single order for computers in its history, agreeing to supply the Edgartown National Bank with upwards of 60 new systems and servers. Educomp continued its partnership with Vineyard.net, signing the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the Edgartown National Bank up for T1 service. Brad Mendenhall, chief technical person at Educomp, saw his staff continue to grow. The walk-in traffic in the front of the store likewise continued to increase. Tim Gregory rejoined Educomp as a full-time tech, bringing the tech staff to four full-time outgoing techs.
As 2002 played out, Sara Magnuson rejoined Educomp in June and Jack Mayhew joined the staff when the Computer Lab decided to drop back from on-site computer repairs. Jack brought several years of Vineyard Computer experience as well as a wonderful attitude formed over several years in the field. This expanded the full-time outgoing tech staff to five, an all-time high.
2003 brought yet another level of business to Educomp. Owners of the Mansion House, Susan and Sherman Goldstein, with the support of the Small Business Agency via Congressman Delahunt's office, borrowed a significant amount of money and rebuilt a magnificent hotel. It is now the centerpiece of Vineyard Haven and home of an integrated computer systems combining programs to manage Zephrus restaurant, the reservation and billing of the hotel, and programs to run the spa and health club. The wiring, installation and cabling of this took much of Educomp's tech time and effort. Educomp also took on the management of the computer systems of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, the Wampanoag Tribe and the towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark. Educomp also became an authorized dealer for POSIM, a point of sale inventory program for small businesses as well as for Educomp itself. In short, 2003 continued as a growth time for the enterprise. Blake Richards and Allen Rongone became part of the Educomp staff as technicians. In late 2003, Heidi Feldman joined Educomp to work as a downstairs coordinator as well as a software consulting person and trainer. Hillary Seaton left Educomp to move off-Island. Trish Ing and Mary Follas continued to oversee much of the retail activity with Dorothy. The front of the store continued to grow and inventory management was tightened with the continued understanding and use of POSIM. Sara Magnuson continues to work closesly with Dorothy adding to the growing Art Department.
2004 found Educomp in the position of opening with a stable staff. In the late spring, Brandie Lewis left to pursue other work. After the summer she moved to Arizona to try her hand in the wider world. Brandie worked at Educomp for over five years and grew to be an important and knowledgeable staff person. She will be missed. There was some concern that sales would appear to have fallen because of the comparison with the large Mansion House installation of the previous year, however, that did not appear to be the case, as many companies needed to upgrade systems and the excellent work of the staff seemed to bring in more business.
In April of 2004 former staff person Shannon Gregory married Dan Carbon, son of former staff person Ginny Carbon in a delightful ceremony at the Old Parsonage in West Tisbury. They are living in Porto, Portugal where Shannon teaches and Dan works with the Graham Family of Port wines as a marketing executive.
In October of 2004, after approximately 12 years away from Educomp, Jill Huminsky rejoined the staff. In the manner of Sara Magnuson Dexter, she becomes a returning staff person and we are delighted to have her back again. In December of 2004 Len Bernstein joined the Educomp staff.
The final numbers for year 2004 found Educomp breaking through a new barrier, the $ 2,000,000 figure in gross revenues represented a new high. In April of 2005 Heidi Feldman left Educomp and Sarah Lynne Codding joined in the downstairs staff. Tim Gregory, former Educomp staff person joined the Indy Mac bank technical staff outside of Los Angeles.
The final sales figures for 2005 found a slight drop in the computer end of the business. Consulting fell and sales dropped a little. This was unusual and cause for some concern in the computer end of the business. There were two staff losses during the year with Blake Richards and Allen Rongone leaving, while Andy Braillard and Kevin Nagle joined Educomp, Kevin moving from a consulting basis to more regular time and will head up the Educomp phone division. Also joining Educomp this year in the computer coordinating department are Klara Moseman and Sarah Codding. Sarah came form the corporate off island world, leaving Houghton Mifflin to move to the Island. (Historical note, Sarah’s mother Patty Codding once worked with Dorothy in the medical world of MV Hospital when Dorothy worked for Stuart Kendall and Patty worked for Susan McCoy). Klara joins Educomp as our primary contact person, she was working with a local podiatrist, Michelle Segal. (Historical note: Pat met Klara’s husband before she did, as George was a soccer coach several years earlier).
The upstairs retail section of Educomp showed growth, with Office Products and Craft Supplies showing solid growth, and Art Products at a slower rate. These numbers could not have been attained without the solid contributions of Trish Ing and Sara Dexter, each of whom took on more ordering responsibilities in those areas. Total sales of service, consulting, repair and sales came in at $1,992,246.25, a still considerable number and the second best in the history of Educomp. There is also sad news to report, during this past year Charlotte Ford Turgeon passed away. Charlotte was the first Educomp technical person outside of Pat, and really instrumental in shaping Educomp to be the type of service organization it has since become. When Charlotte joined Educomp she really took a career chance, as she had a secure position with the Edgartown National Bank. It would not be an exaggeration to say that without Charlotte Educomp would not have grown in such a successful manner.
Year end 2005 brought Educomp to another successful, though not record breaking year. Sales were the second highest in history and profits were acceptable. Staffing changes saw Blake Richards and Allen Rongone leave, while Kevin Nagle joined on a more full time basis bringing Educomp phone systems more into the main stream of our work. Another notable occasion was the supplying of the Point of Sale software POSIM, Macintosh version, for the Beadniks franchise. We set up the local franchise as well as the Sarasota Beadniks.
Goals for the year 2006 include looking at system wide management software, continuing to grow our cartridge program, remaining in close touch with our customers and responding in ever more efficient ways to our service customers. In our retail operation we want to continue to work our inventory program and look at new programs for walk in customers.
In March of 2006 Ali Peterson joined Educomp and will be working in the upstairs retail environment.
Year 2006 closed as a record year, meeting several of our goals and in particular developing relationships with many larger customers, notably the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital which has in excess of 150 workstations and users. Educomp also became the provider for the POS system POSIM for Beadniks on a national level. We have currently installed seven systems, two in Florida, one in Pennsylvania, Chicago, Denver, Santa Monica and one in Vineyard Haven.
In March of 2007 Carol Clark joined Educomp and will be working both up and downstairs in retail and tech coordination. In November of 2007 Educomp was approved by Apple as a certified repair location to do warranty repairs.
The year 2007 ended once again as a record year for Educomp. Gross income was over $ 2.2 million. Additionally in early 2008 three new staff members joined Educomp, Art Nelson, Maury de Geofroy and Daphne Hickman. In early 2008 Educomp held some planning summits and drew up a list of goals for the year. Daphne has worked the retail store while Art and Maury joined on as technicians, Maury also brings some art experience to Educomp and he has worked both ends of the business.
The year 2008 started out with a bang and Educomp once again showed growth in Gross income, getting to a new record level of $2.36 million. However, in the last half of the year, the storm clouds of recession started to appear and product sales dropped from the previous year. In 2008 Educomp installed an outdoor web camera to track the progress of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. You can view this by going to www.mvhopsital.org and choosing the link for the web cam from that page. At the end of 2008 the roof was being installed and the outline of the building is apparent. The hoped for move in date is spring of 2010.