The founder, Fred Fritz, has been interested in electronics since he was a youngster. He was able to "make radios work" for neighbors and liked to listen to "hams" on the old Philco AM multiband radio - but didn't know how they were able to do that because there were no "hams" around to explain Amateur Radio.
After graduating from high school in 1958, Fred went to work for the US Forest Service for the summer, in the experimental logging division. At the end of the season the woods were closed until spring. He went to work in Chester in the local mill, first pulling "green chain" and then as "millwright helper". The mill went on strike shortly after and Fred applied for an apprenticeship at Mare Island Navy Yard. He began there in August 1959 as a Marine Machinist Apprentice.
Shortly thereafter, he met Linda Showalter, whose father was a "ham". Fred moved to Petaluma, and he and Linda were married in November 1961. Fred finished his apprenticeship in 1963, the same year their daughter Cindy was born. Fred became a journeyman marine machinist that year. He worked on many old WWII fleet submarines, destroyers and light cruisers, as well as new fast attack submarines including the USS Permit and USS Plunger and many of the Polaris submarines. Fred left the shipyard in 1966 due to loss of his sight. The vision problem lasted for several years.
In the later part of 1966, Fred started a little retail business from home. A few months later, Linda quit her job to help him. Meanwhile, Fred had gotten his amateur radio license in 1962. He enjoyed "playing around" with radio, but his father-in-law had taught him radio theory that seemed to be a little outdated.
In 1977, Fred took a year of Radio Electronics Theory at Santa Rosa JC, finishing at the head of the class. He then upgraded his Amateur License to Advanced, and then took the examinations for the Third, Second and First Class Radiotelephone License all the same day at the FCC in San Francisco. After he passed them all and became licensed, his father-in-law began telling people that Fred could fix their electronics.
Shortly after Fred got licensed, a man brought him an old "Sea Scan" radar that wouldn't work. Fred told him he could not work on it because he didn't have a "radar endorsement" on his license. The man said,"I don't care, just fix it". Fred found the trouble and fixed it. The man said he would not tell anyone, but the next day several people came to Fred's home and told him "Bill said the radar never worked that good before". So Fred went to to San Francisco again, to take the exam for his radar endorsement.
After he got the endorsement, things started to pile up in the house. Radars and depth finders sat in the family room. Linda decided it was time to "take it out of the house!". They rented a 1000-square-foot retail space in Petaluma. Their daughter, Cindy, helped them after school and has always been a part of the business. Now the business is in the same location, but has been expanded to more than 4000 square feet of space including a service bay.
Cindy married Kevan Strube in 1995 and he joined the business in 1996. Their daughter Cristina was born in 1999, and the next year Kevan started taking evening classes in electronics at Santa Rosa JC.
Cindy runs the computer, answers the phones, makes orders and helps customers. Kevan also answers phones, helps customers, receives incoming shipments and packs outgoing shipments. Linda takes care of phones as well, writes up customers' orders, and handles most of the banking.
Fred is active in all the day-to-day activities including phones, sales, installations and advice