Peter Hitch recognized an untapped market when he opened the doors to Data Doctors in 2005. Today the Wayzata location is the nationwide franchise’s No. 1 unit each year, and Hitch says Lake Minnetonka has been a perfect fit for his growing business.
"I've been able to watch it grow from a generally summertime destination to a vibrant residential and business community," Hitch said of Lake Minnetonka.
So how did Hitch, a corporate lawyer by trade, get into the computer service industry?
"The reason I was interested in Data Doctors as a business is because I was over 50, and so many of my peers in that age group needed help desperately with their computer and technology needs," Hitch said. "With this age group, I knew it was going to be based on service. We really try to concentrate not only on the hardware or software issue, but the person who owns the machine."
Hitch points to his staff and other service components as reasons for their position as the No. 1 Data Doctors franchise in the United States.
"Rich Holm is our store manager, and he has 20-plus years with the Wayzata Volunteer Fire Department," Hitch said. "Chris 'Pip' Carlson is our lead computer technician, and he came out of the Wayzata High School computer program. He's a real expert in technology and can fix anything. Mike Allen is our on-site tech and he's well versed in our business computer networking. It was vital that we put a team together that was experts in the field, but also entrenched in the local business community."
Hitch has over 50 years in the surrounding Lake Minnetonka area, and has cultivated lasting relationships with neighbors and customers through numerous community organizations and events.
"I find that the real difference for us is being involved with the community as much as possible," he said. “Our affiliation with the city of Wayzata through the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce, local BNI groups, community events and other associations has made all the difference in the world for me."
His involvement in local and state business communities include helping start the Minnesota Children's Museum in 1979, forming the Plymouth Soccer Association in 1984, serving as Presidents of Tee-Master—an online tee time reservation system and Tencap—a tennis handicap system. He also worked and developed systems for Trimodal, an ocean container business. Finally, Hitch participated for years in Ski Jammers, serving as head race coach for several years.
Hitch is also a board member for the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce, and Data Doctors regularly participates in chamber events and community festivals.
"I've always looked for opportunities to be unique and try new things," Hitch explained. "I knew that there are markets for everything, and I always felt like by getting involved in so many cutting edge things, that I would always have something that could help people. But, even though I knew there was an opportunity to market an idea or product, I also knew I couldn't do it without solid relationships in the communities I was in."
Hitch says building solid relationships starts with serving one customer at a time and catering service to their individual needs.
"We started programs like 15 minutes of fame," Hitch said. "A customer can come in and talk with us for 15 minutes without any fees about any computer issue. We also have a guaranteed computer protection program that is purchased with a nominal monthly fee. This allows the customer to never have to worry about service and repair if something should happen. It's programs like these coupled with turn-around times of four days or less, that are enabling us to have success serving Lake Minnetonka area residents and businesses."
Hitch has a law degree from the University of Puget Sound and practiced in the corporate acquisitions area for some time. Today, there's no place else he'd rather live and do business.
"There is nowhere else I'd rather be," he said. "Lake Minnetonka is a special place, and I'm just happy that I get to live and work here every day of my life."