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MN typewriter stores see rise in popularity among young people

The number of typewriter dealers has decreased, but the ones that are left are seeing fresh faces.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - In our current world of smart phones, smart cars, even smart TVs, you might think typewriters would be a thing of the past. Think again.

Spectrum Business Systems stays true to its name, servicing business' computer systems, laptops and printers. But the technology that fills the store dates back to the 19th century.

Dave Hintz, along with his wife Kathy, co-owns Spectrum Business Systems in St. Paul.

"It's just something I think they connect to the past with." Hintz said.

By "they", Hintz means young people.

Though typewriters account for less than a quarter of business, Hintze is seeing a resurgence in the old technology - to the clickety-clack of ten inquiries for repairs per week.

If you head 20 minutes south to Richfield, you'll hear similar typewriter tales.

Mark Soderbeck, the owner of Vale Typewriter Company, said it's hard to explain why young people are interested in typewriters.

"They love the feel of it. The young people really love them," Soderbeck said.

Soderbeck, not only fixes typewriters, but sells them with warranties. Some of the typewriters for sale in his store outdate most everyone on the planet.

Soderbeck sees a steady stream of clients for typewriter repairs and sales, much to the bewilderment of others.

"They always said, How can he be so busy? What, is he dealing drugs over there? Laundering money?" Soderbeck said.

When Soderbeck started his business here in 1976, he says there were 27 typewriter dealers around Richfield. Now, there's maybe two.

Soderbeck rarely uses the product he loves so much, and there's a reason for that.

"I can type, but not the proper way," Soderbeck said. "I can repair them, but you wouldn't ask a mechanic to fly a 747 and you're riding in the back, would ya?"

Both Hintz and Soderbeck see a bright future for their businesses due to the surprising increase in demand for typewriters.

Soderbeck said he might stay in business until he's as old as the product he sells.

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