Settled under a crisp white awning in the middle of East Walnut Street is Columbia’s brand-spanking new, tech mastermind headquarters: Gravity. Gravity is a business focused on computer and technology consultation and integration, certified by Apple and specializing in those products.
Gravity has been in the making for 10 years. Owner Jonathan Sessions has been working with the Mac brand since his time as an MU student.
“We are Columbia’s Macintosh experts,” Sessions says. “I’ve been doing this for years. The techs back there have been doing this for years. We are certified by Apple, and we’re the only consumer-oriented shop (in Columbia).”
For students and CoMo natives alike, this means that a messed up desktop or laptop (or iPhone, starting near the end of September) doesn’t have to be accompanied by a long drive to St. Louis or Kansas City to fix it.
“I think it’ll be a really nice resource to have as a student, especially since I didn’t bring a car to school,” freshman Saylor Grau says. “If anything breaks, it’ll be really convenient.”
Sessions started a similar firm, Sessions Consulting, in the early 2000s in hopes of providing on-site consultation in support of local businesses that were also Apple-computer-based. The business continued to grow until it finally expanded into the customer-focused company it is today.
“We still provide all the services we were providing to individuals and businesses before: consultation, on-site and in-shop support,” Sessions says. “The extra benefit is we can provide all in-warranty and out-of-warranty services. We have teamed up with Apple directly. We honor the Apple warranty, so if an individual has AppleCare on their computer, their iPad and within a few weeks their mobile phone, we will be able to provide in-warranty support for those products in the shop.”
“The way that I focus the company is making sure that I can explain technology in a way that’s understandable,” Sessions says. “We base our company around being the antithesis of the stereotypical computer individual. We want to explain, we want to make sure people understand, and we try to change the terms of the conversation so individuals aren’t overwhelmed by the technology. Technology is not overwhelming, it’s a very logical process, and it’s very easy to understand, and we want individuals to understand it.”
Sessions’ claim to expertise checks out, as behind the small white walls of Gravity’s front room sits the company’s “Plywood Palace” — this industrial backroom area is home to a lot of wood and concrete, contrasting with the clean and modern storefront that greets the customers. One of several computer-techs and problem-solving wizards Andrew Parker calls this humble kingdom his workplace.
“You have this idea of a streamline that’s like, ‘This is the symptom and this is the problem,’” Parker says. “You know, but stuff is broke. And a lot of times I can end up in a lot of weird situations that don’t really happen like you think they would. And you have to be able to figure that out and figure out what’s going on.”
Although mechanical aptitude and problem-solving skills are crucial to any technological repair, Gravity’s level of expertise can reach individuals and businesses more accessibly than other options.
“TigerTech does have techs and does repair, but they’re for students. There are a lot of people outside of the student world,” Sessions says. “What makes us stand apart from other repair organizations is that we are the Macintosh experts.”