A tech store that markets itself as a “better, cheaper alternative to Apple” has arrived in Downtown New Haven.

iZeek recently opened its New Haven branch at 250 College St., with the mission of offering owners of various technologies a cheaper, faster and friendlier alternative to major brands.

“The defining word for this business is that we’re an alternative to Apple,” Gary Murphy, the owner of iZeek’s New Haven branch, told the News. “We’re very approachable and extremely honest, and our repairs usually take fifteen to thirty minutes while Apple can take hours to just fix a cracked screen.”

Screen repairs at Apple can cost as much as $169 or $279 for newer models such as the iPhone 8 Plus or the iPhone, respectively. iZeek claims that, depending on the case, their repairs cost between $50 and $100 and they do all of their repairs in front of the customer — unlike Apple.

iZeek’s first branch opened in Hamden in 2016. The company was founded by Asher Arka and John Akdeniz, two entrepreneurs with backgrounds in computer science. Prior to founding iZeek, Arka and Akdeniz were working at a similar tech company in 2009, when the phone repair business boomed as iPhones and other touch-screen devices gained massive popularity.

In an interview with the news, Arka said that while they worked for their previous employer, the duo discovered how to repair the screen of an iPhone 3G, and the store saw a massive spike in business as a result. When they felt they weren’t being rewarded for their contribution, Arka and Akdeniz pooled their savings to open up iZeek, a punny alternative to “geek”, and believed they had the skills and attention to customer service that would help take the business off the ground.

“Apple and other repair shops don’t have the customers’ best interest in mind, so we wanted to offer customers reliability and good service,” Akra told the News. “That’s why we blew up in Hamden – people were so frustrated with being told their devices couldn’t be repaired or that it would cost hundreds of dollars, so they came to us.”

A little over a year ago, Murphy visited iZeek’s Hamden location in need of a phone repair. He said he had such a great experience with Akra, Akdeniz, and his phone repair, that he immediately asked how he could get involved. The three of them now co-run the New Haven branch, while business at the Hamden store is still booming.

iZeek can fix a range of device issues, including faulty charging ports, cameras, microphones, batteries, and more. They offer repairs for numerous brands of smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and computers and offer screen repair services a “comprehensive, twelve-month warranty,” according to their website.

While iZeek offers a faster, cheaper alternative to those seeking device repairs, choosing a third-party service rather than the device’s parent company could have negative implications.

According to a technician from Apple Support, going to third-party providers may make device owners ineligible from further Apple service.

“If a device is fixed through a third party and we find that it has been mishandled by them and is in need of further repair as a result, there’s a penalty,” the technician, who asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak to media, told the News.

Apple Media Advisory, the company’s media department, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The employee added that if a customer received a third-party repair and came to Apple about an issue regarding that repair, they would either be turned away or have to pay the out-of-warranty price, no matter what protection plan they have.

The Apple employee noted that third-party repair shops can often perform harmful repairs that leave devices with “deficiencies that your device may not have had before the repair.”

Despite the potential cost for customers who opt for third-party repairs, iZeek has seen rising success in its three years of operation, with branches in Hamden, Milford, and now New Haven. The business recently closed their Milford branch in order to focus on their New Haven location, but Murphy said they could return to Milford in the future.

iZeek is located at 250 College St.

Caroline Moore | caroline.moore@yale.edu