Techline set to close by end of September

Techline-Cellular Connection, which introduced dial-up internet access to Aberdeen in 1995, will close after more than 30 years in business, according to owners Jerry and Gloria Brown.

The Browns plan to sell the retail building at 914 E. Wishkah St., once everything inside is gone.

“We’ll be closed for sure by the end of the month,” Gloria said. “We’ll start discounting, and then get rid of anything that’s left.”

The Browns have been semi-retired and living in central Mexico. Gloria has been using the Internet to run the retail computer and cellular business for more than six years now and relying on a group of employees at their Aberdeen store she describes as “wonderful.”

The couple may have introduced the world-wide web to Aberdeen more than 20 years ago, but it was a college intern who devised the system that used a 64K modem as a class assignment, Jerry explained.

They sold that part of their business a decade ago, after their client list exceeded 5,000 names.

Nearly two dozen people worked for Techline in those days. They have only about a half-dozen employees now.

Jerry said many long-time customers have been dropping in to the store just to say good-bye since they announced their plans.

“We have mixed feelings. We don’t want to close, but we want to do more things and want time to do more things,” Gloria said. “We want to travel and enjoy life without worrying about being near an internet hot spot.”

The Browns recall a trip to Costa Rica and needing to submit payroll, couldn’t because the internet service at the hotel where they were staying wasn’t working.

“Someone at the hotel had a hotspot on their cellphone and allowed us to use it so we could complete payroll on time,” Jerry said.

The Browns wrote a letter explaining the upcoming store closure in which they praised their staff for continuing to provide a high level of customer service and thanked the community for their business and loyalty. Their letter is posted on the business’ web site.