'I have taken lots of crazy bizarre ideas and put them under one roof'
New Technology Cafe in Navan mixing the very latest digital innovations and tech gadgets with great coffee and a warm welcome
Twenty years ago, a technology haven with electric scooters, virtual reality games and wireless audio devices is probably something you’d imagine seeing in a Back to The Future movie and the idea that Navan would be at the cutting edge of this digital revolution might be a concept you think is actually stranger than fiction.
But fast forward to 2021 and the notion doesn’t seem something so elusive to a society that has embraced a digital world, as John Kerins, manager of The Technology Café on Kennedy Road will confirm.
The tech savvy professional who has over 20 years’ experience in the industry took on the project earlier this year to create a digital hub unlike anything we have seen before alongside managing director Michael Heavey.
The destination store that consists of a 3,000 sq ft technology retail space, gaming section, large seating area and café that produces some seriously good coffee is already becoming a cult favourite with locals. And if the futuristic vibe is a little too radical for your liking you can always take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and have a go at the Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog arcade games that are on hand to let you relive your youth.
“It is a modern take on an old-fashioned bookstore with a modern twist where we substitute the books for technology,” said John.
“Mick had this idea, he enjoyed going into bookstores, sitting down, reading having a coffee and technology is my thing, it is what I am interested in, so we have merged the two worlds together.
“I have taken lots of crazy bizarre ideas and put them under one roof.”
“We have electric bikes and scooter and drones and a massive gaming section. Gaming really is huge.”
John saw an opening for this kind of business concept a number of years ago whilst working in a tech brand giant and believes with the pandemic cementing how important digital access is for modern life it was the perfect time to jump into this venture as he explains:
“Technology is an equaliser now, it is an outlet for people, whether that’s someone doing Zoom calls for work, as we have been scene in recent months, kids using computers for schoolwork or the elderly having their phones as a connection to loved ones.
“I used to work in Philips, and we put some high-end coffee docks into some of the larger retail stores about eight years ago and I saw how well that worked. We were very much a coffee-loving society then but now it’s just so popular and people really love the idea of spending some time in here, doing some work and having a browse at the products.
The technology café is working on another string to their bow where they hope to merge retail, coffee and education according to John who said:
“We want to introduce the education side where we are not just trying to sell you the box, we are trying to educate you on how to use the box. We have a dedicated seating area, and the idea is that you can just come in and grab your coffee sit down and just relax for a half an hour, peruse the technology and just look around but the next part of the plan is to turn that into a space where we do workshops and classes.
“The plan is to have classes that will cater for a good variety of ages from kids of 10-12-year-olds doing coding up to name your age, people who can’t switch on the phone, people who can’t get online, can’t open a laptop, don’t know what a cursor or a mouse is and it going to try and encompass all those types of skill levels.”
The Technology café manager’s love of gadgets began at an early age as he explains:
“We all have our things in life and mine is just technology. My father would have been fairly techy for this age, he was always taking stuff apart and rebuilding things, my brother would have been the same, so technology is just something I am into and always have been and for the last 20 years I have been selling technology as a result.”