The History of Mountain Computer Wizards
In 1996 Margie and Joe had been attending Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, working odd jobs, doing computer consulting and being general college students/ski bums for several years. One day Joe mentioned to a friend, ďIf I had a nickel, Iíd start an ISP.Ē Well, that friend came up with the nickel and the idea of Mountain Computer Wizards came into being.
It was time to choose a location for our new business. Although we loved Gunnison, it already had half a dozen ISPís with local dial-up numbers. So, the search was on for the ideal place to start an ISP.
We had several requirements for our ideal location. It must be a rural community in the mountains, close to skiing, rafting and other outdoor activities. Oh yes, and it should have little or no competition from other ISPís. (Little did we know about what itís like to start your own business - weíve been skiing and rafting no more than 3 or 4 times each since the inception of MCW in 1996.)
After visiting several Colorado towns, we finally decided to check out Buena Vista. It only took one visit to convince us that this was the place! The Chamber of Commerce was the most welcoming and encouraging of any we had visited and the people in Chaffee County reflected that same attitude. The atmosphere in the Chamber and other businesses we visited was professional, yet casual and friendly - just the type of environment we were looking for.
MCW began offering computer service and repair in October of 1996 and went on-line as an ISP in January, 1997. The growth we experienced was phenomenal. After carefully preparing projections and business plans based on other rural Colorado ISPís, we signed up twice as many customers in the first year than we expected.
By 1998, with our growth was exploding, we needed another investor as well as business guidance and network support. Rick and Cindy, networking professionals from Denver, were chosen to be the new principals of Mountain Computer Wizards.
However, the original principal owner of MCW was not satisfied with the new arrangement and filed suit. After a year long suit and five day trial in February of 1999, the jury verdict confirmed that the stock issued to the new investors was valid and that control of MCW would remain with them.
Shortly after the trial, MCW was approached by Vanion, a Colorado Springs telecommunications and Internet company. Vanion was able to offer MCW a redundant connection from Salida to the Internet backbone as well as numerous upgrades to the MCW network.
After doing business together for over a year, Vanion acquired Mountain Computer Wizards in May 2000. All of the MCW employees were hired by Vanion and continued to work in the Buena Vista office.
One year later, in early April 2001, Vanion closed the Buena Vista office and began handling all billing and technical issues from their Colorado Springs customer service center.
During the implementation of these changes, Vanion offered to transfer the name Mountain Computer Wizards to Margie and Joe.
So, Margie and Joe incorporated a new company in the same Buena Vista location with the same familiar name.
For the next year, Mountain Computer Wizards operated on a contract basis as a sales agent and service center for Vanion
as well as provided computer service and repair. However, customers continued to voice their wishes, more and more loudly as time went on,
for Margie and Joe to start-up and operate their own Internet Service.
So, in May 2002, MCW became it's own, full-fledged, completely local Internet Service Provider offering all of the previous web site
and e-mail services as well as dial-up Internet access, DSL and high-speed wireless.