story and photo by Chrissy Alspaugh
Hunter Riebl underestimated the community’s excitement for his business.
But great things can happen when you’re the only game in town. Or actually county, in his case.
Hunter’s Electronics opened in September, allowing residents to stay local for computer and cell phone service and repair, large-format printing, UPS shipping, and much more. Located at 30 E. Washington St., the business also carries an array of electronics and gadgets, ranging from cell phone cases and wireless chargers to selfie sticks and remote-controlled quadcopter drones.
“It’s a great idea,” said Nashville resident Scott Hash, who recently stopped by Hunter’s Electronics for a cell phone repair estimate. “Otherwise you have to go to Bloomington or Columbus.”
Truth be told, Hunter is as pleasantly surprised as anyone by the overwhelmingly positive reception the store has received from residents.
At just 21, he admits that owning a business—particularly in Nashville—wasn’t really his plan.
After graduating from Brown County High School, he knew he wanted to spread his wings and enrolled at Huntington University in northern Indiana. Studying business management and computer science, Hunter said it was obvious by his sophomore year that he lacked passion for the path he was on. He withdrew from school and worked a while maintaining technology for an HVAC company and later running robotic welders in a factory. It wasn’t long before Hunter returned to his hometown and landed a job at an Internet and telecommunications company that finally ignited within him a fire.
Electronics and technology always had come easily for Hunter. He worked as a “techie” for his high school while still a student. High school and college also found Hunter regularly fixing cell phones, iPods, and such for family and friends.
So when his dad, Mike Riebl, offered to help launch an electronics store in Nashville, Hunter immediately was intrigued.
“I was apprehensive, though, because my perception was that all the businesses here cater to tourists,” Hunter said. “But once we got to talking more about what we could offer, I realized that if we did it right, this could be huge.”
Mike, managing partner of Tsune America in Edinburgh, said being a business owner has been one of the most rewarding choices of his own life, “So we said, ‘Let’s give this a try!’” He said Hunter’s ease in connecting with people, coupled with his obvious strengths with technology, made the general business focus clear. But without any retail experience of his own, Mike said he and his son could only guess how well the store might be received.
“Certainly the success of the electronics part of the business has surprised us,” he said. “I was thinking there might be more demand for the retail or printing, but of the three or four legs we stand on, the need that is out there for local repairs has been great.”
While the store certainly piques the interest of passing tourists, Hunter said his primary clientele is local. He said he’s thrilled to be filling gaps and hopefully making residents’ lives easier.
Hunter said his father’s business experience has been invaluable with the store’s launch. “It’s amazing to be able to go to him anytime I have questions,” Hunter said. “The people who start a business on their own and don’t know what they’re doing, man, it must feel like getting hit by a bus. Instead, I just feel like I’ve been hit by a small SUV!”
Hunter plans to someday finish his degree. But for now, he’s just glad that life’s twists and turns brought him back to Brown County.
“I think a lot of young people think that if they’re not into the artsy tourism stuff, there’s nothing to do except leave,” he said. “But in reality there are a lot of opportunities. I’m very happy to be here. This is definitely a great place for me.”
Hunter’s Electronics is located at 30 East Washington Street across from the Circle K. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information call (317) 498-9982 or visit <hunterselectronics.com>.