Business

Bainbridge firm buys Budsters ISP

"Robert Rawlings last week announced plans to sell the Internet service provider he co-owns, Budsters.com, to Bainbridge Island's Northwest Network Service.Rawlings will keep his computer service and repair company, Budsters Computers, and will continue to provide payment services and technical support for Budsters.com. But operating an ISP in a crowded market, while also running the repair business, got to be too much.I can't keep up with the Joneses, Rawlings said. Bob (Malecki, Northwest president) has everything we want, so we went with him.Rawlings said the ISP was on the market for awhile, but none of the local ISPs had the same service and business ethic he sought.Rawlings and Northwest Network Services Inc. President Bob Malecki have known each other for some time, and Rawlings advised Malecki when he started Northwest. Rawlings said the two have similar philosophies and customer-service ethics, and that only three customers have switched to other providers since the sale was announced.I tell people what I got. I'm not hiding anything in the back, Rawlings said.Budsters will essentially act as a service and pay drop-off center for Northwest, which will own Budsters.com but leave the service to the present Budsters staff.The changeover will be complete July 17, when Budsters.com customers start dialing into NorthSound.net. Malecki said customers won't even notice the change.We're going to try and be as transparent as possible, Malecki said. They (Budsters customers) might have to dial a new number but that's really about it.Malecki said his interest in Budsters came from his desire to expand his market throughout Kitsap County. He hopes to someday catch Silverdale's TSC and become the largest ISP in Kitsap. Port Orchard to Hansville is the market, Malecki said. That's what we want.Toward that end, Malecki plans to launch a new ISP domain, NorthSound.net, to join his newly acquired Budsters.com and his older Bainbridge.net. He has no plans to change the Budsters.com name. Rawlings said despite the sale, Budster's Computers remains financially strong. The computer upgrade and repair business recently moved across the street to a new Bayshore Drive location and he has hired additional staff. Although the ownership of his ISP has changed hands, Rawlings said he will still provide the best service possible. It not so much a loss, but a compliment, Rawlings said."

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