Bookmark and Share

Keeping Up With Technology

MetroPCS | Helping members of the community keep up with technology

Take A Look! | A look inside MetroPCS, one of the leading national mobile phone service providers.

View Larger Map
Map of MetroPCS | Google Map of MetroPCS, located at 1133 E. Florence Ave.

Victor Garcia's MetroPCS
A look into a MetroPCS store run by Victor Garcia, explaining what the store offers to the community, who the usual customers are, and how he got into the business.
For the Greater Good
Some of the communities in the South Central area are dedicated to improving the community through their services. From a quaint beauty salon to a boxing store to a religious Botanica, all agree on one thing: improving the community starts with the individual.
As the community changes, city institutions move to help the neighborhood
Facing changing demographics and an ongoing recession, the area around Central Avenue has seen its neighborhood shift as well. Local community organizations, often based around churches or city blocks, have decreased their efforts. Now, city-wide and municipal programs are stepping in to help the neighborhood. These efforts have greater funding and more resources to make them more effective.
An Alternative Family
Mount Carmel Park is more than just a safe haven to keep kids busy and off the streets after school, the staff and those who have grown up at the park are a family. Cesar Ramirez, the park’s director, creates an environment where his team has the freedom to do their jobs and the kids get the perfect balance of discipline and love.

By Jake O'Brien

At 1133 East Florence Avenue sits a store run by the same family for ten years. MetroPCS was opened by Victor Garcia with the help of his brother after they decided to take their skills to a professional level.

“When I was young I liked working with technology,” said Garcia. “I would fix people’s pagers and when everyone started to get cell phones I would fix those too.”

Since computers and cell phones were becoming a larger part of life day by day, Garcia thought it would be a great idea to open a store where people could make their cell phone payments or have their phones fixed. After negotiating with national mobile phone service provider MetroPCS, Garcia accomplished his dreams and opened a store.

Currently, the store offers services to a variety of phones ranging from Boost Mobile, to T-Mobile, to Verizon. When people need to make a cell phone payment or have their phone fixed, they know which store to go to. Metro PCS brings in about 25 customers a day, but bring in about 50 a day between the first and the seventh of every month because that is when many people in the area receive their paychecks.

Much of the time, Garcia's MetroPCS acts as a service station for those who don’t exactly know how to work their phones properly.

“Most of our customers are older people, ranging from 45 to 60 years old,” he said. “They are usually the ones with the lower end phones and a lot of the time they don’t know how to use them.”

For the older people in the community, adapting to the increasingly complex technology has been difficult. Many of them lack the income to afford higher end phones, and even if they do have the income, few of them are educated in how the newest technology works.

“When I look around I see a few younger kids with the higher end phones, but people like me never really got into those,” said Tyler Henry, a 52-year-old father and customer of MetroPCS.

Henry can see that technology will continue to progress too, and hopes that his children will keep up with it.

“Technology is going to keep evolving and I want my kids to evolve with that technology and make the best out of life and be happy," he said. "I don’t want them to be like me. My life is good but I want theirs to be better.”

For Garcia, he knows that working at a cell phone store has been a blessing because without it he might have been lost when it came to technology. He hopes to continue working at MetroPCS, but must stay healthy in order to do so.

“I was diagnosed with stomach cancer last November. The doctors found a tumor in my stomach and I had to go through chemotherapy and radiation for the last year to remove the tumor,” he said. “But I have to stay positive. If I’m positive I am confident I will stay healthy.”

Since undergoing treatment, Garcia's niece Pearl has taken over the duties of running MetroPCS, and since his return Garcia has worked as the store’s technician.

Now that the tumor is gone, Garcia will continue to follow up with his doctor for the next five years. If there are no further problems, he is considered cured from cancer.

Even if he makes it, Garcia has learned the value of life and understands he must teach his son whatever he can in case he does not stay healthy.

“I have to teach my son what I can with the time I have left. And I guess technology is one of those essential things," he said. "I want him to know how the world works and how to use the best resources he can so that if I’m gone he can survive.”

Henry similarly wants his children to succeed, and realizes how important it will be to understand technology in years to come.

“I’m working so that my kids can get that iPhone. And not just the iPhone but the knowledge to use that iPhone. I don’t have the really good technology but I’m working hard so that my kids can have it, so that they have a better future and can use the technology I never got a chance to use.”

Keeping up with technology has been a goal for many people alike in the neighborhood. While some may struggle to afford the high-end phones and computers, they make the best of what they have.

Tyler Henry | A customer at MetroPCS trying to better understand technology.

The Evolution of the Cell Phone | Credit to Paralegal Degree for uploading the video to YouTube

Victor Garcia | Once ran MetroPCS but currently works as the store's technician

DATA BELOW: The data below was compiled in a survey of 20 people in the neighborhood. Surveyors were asked what type of cell phone and computer they owned.