A business owner who brought the internet to Williams Lake will be retiring at the end of July.
Nick Sardy has owned The Computer Access Centre for almost 29 years and through that time said he has evolved with his computers.
“I’ve developed a humongous amount of information in my head and rarely do I get a problem that somebody has that I have never seen before.”
Born in Budapest, Hungary, his family escaped during the 1956 revolution to Belgium.
“I went from first to sixth grade in Belgium doing everything in French. We moved to the United States and I was there until 1971 when I emigrated to Canada.”
He got his start with computers while working for the Canadian Coast Guard headquarters in Ottawa.
During that time he even started a Commodore 64 club and was amassing educational software.
“I got to a point where I had a copy of almost every available program on the market having to do with educational software,” he said. “You have to keep in mind, back then there was no copyright law for software.”
When he retired from the Coast Guard, he and his wife Meta moved to a 200-acre farm on Jack Pine Road off Spokin Lake Road with their three children — Melissa, Shawn and Kristin.
The children attended school in Horsefly and Williams Lake and have all graduated from university and are doing exceptionally well in their fields.
For a few years he taught computer science as a special educator in Horsefly and set up the first Commodore 64 computer lab in the school.
Eventually he inquired with the Business Development Corporation (BDC) about setting up a business where people could come in and use computers.
His proposal was accepted and he set up shop on First Avenue underneath the BDC offices at the time.
“I had different kinds of computers,” he recalled. “Not everyone had them. They could come in and do resumes or whatever. That’s how it started.”
He taught people at the location and in 1994 put on a ‘dog and pony’ show at the Overlander and introduced Williams Lake to the internet.
By April 1995, he had moved to where he is now at 29A Third Ave. South and was providing internet for dial-up clients and had the only fibre line going out when people dialed in.
It was an expensive venture, but eventually he caught up and had over 800 clients using his wlake.com domain.
When Telus and Shaw came in, they were providing services at a cheaper rate and he did lose some of his clients and then sold the dial-up portion of his business to ABC Communications, but kept looking after e-mail accounts and the domain. “I’ve got over 450 clients that come to me on a semi-regular basis whenever they need help. Or they call me over the phone. I help anybody, whether they are my clients or not.”
By moving to Victoria, he said they will be closer to their children. He looks forward to saltwater fishing and ‘losing some of the weight’ he has accumulated while sitting around.
Grateful for the nice comments he received on Facebook when he posted his intention to retire, he said it felt good to be appreciated.
And even though he is closing up shop, he plans to continue to service accounts connected to his wlake.com domain, as well as some of the other domains he helped set up and look after.