The tiny bunker sits by the side of the busy road. Metal bars cover the windows. Music pulsates from the soffits. A yellow smiley icon winks.
Blink and you might miss Hardwear Gadget Repair at 3620 Rucker Ave. in Everett. Catch a glimpse and go “What was that?”
“People wander in and say, ‘What’s up with this place?’ ” said owner Mike Wear. That explains why “ware” is spelled “wear” in the name. There’s nothing to wear.
“I fix things,” said Wear, a lanky guy in a lab coat. “I’m a super computer nerd, totally.”
The 450-square-foot den of electronics is his workshop and storefront of computers, monitors, guitars, mobile gear and random cords. The place rocks. It might have the best sound system in town, inside as well as out.
The garage-like structure, built into the side of the hill next to Rucker in 1910, has been a grocery market among other things over the years. It was a tattoo parlor before Wear opened it as a tech fix-it shop in 2012.
“I completely gutted it,” he said. “The tattoo guys, they aren’t builders.”
Wear has the house behind it to keep inventory. “I have 40 or 50 laptops and 60 desktops in my basement,” he said.
Wear, 46, grew up in Snohomish and was a battlefield computer operator in the U.S. Marine Corps. Then he got into the music biz.
“I was on the front page of The Herald,” he said. “I used to book bands. I’m the one who brought Iron Butterfly to Granite Falls years ago. We built a 61-foot-wide stage out of logs that were milled on that property and it was 40-feet-deep. We dragged a couch out in the middle of the field.”
In addition to band promoting and emceeing at clubs, Wear was a roofer for 20 years.
“I went to ITT for electronics engineering. Then I went back to roofing. There’s more money in it. Then the housing market crashed and building went into the toilet.”
So, he opened the fix-it shop. “My dad was happy I finally used my degree for something,” he said.
He also does data recovery and makes vinyl signs and stickers. All in that little bunker with the great jams.
He accepts cash, checks or tips. There’s a tip jar for jobs that take him 5 to 10 minutes to fix. He’s also been known to assemble things for seniors who need a hand. No, a tip isn’t necessary for that.
When there’s nothing to do?
He watches the cops snag speeders on Rucker.
Hardwear Gadget Repair
3620 Rucker Ave.; 425-252-9327; hardweargadgetrepair.com.
— Andrea Brown (@reporterbrown) April 28, 2015