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Exploring Life & Business with Aaron Therol of Typewriter Connection

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaron Therol.

Hi Aaron, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
The story begins when I was taking the trash out to the dumpster one evening. It appeared that someone had placed aside, next to the dumpster, a perfectly good vintage suitcase. I decided to take a look at it. When I picked it up, it was surprisingly heavy! I opened it up and found a typewriter inside! I was intrigued and surprised that such a beautiful-looking machine and case was just thrown aside. Shortly thereafter, I attended the Melrose Trading Post, the popular weekly market that brings together communities, local sellers, artisans, and shoppers. I had a dream to have my own typewriter shop at the Melrose Trading Shop just for a season. I slowly built up my typewriter collection and eventually made this short-term dream come true.

To my surprise, I sold out of every typewriter that morning! I realized then that there were people hungry for vintage items and a desire to go back to what the typewriter represents – a slowing down, being present, and being tactile with a purpose.

I honestly did not think that I would be working with typewriters this long. It has been an unexpected road and one that honestly had a life of its own. I think the reason why I ended up where I am, is that the motivation has always been how these machines make people feel. As long as there are typists out there, I will be serving them with the best machine they seek.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Every small business owner or creator has challenges. What is unique about the antique business is that these are items that are no longer in production. I can only find and sell what is already out there. I also provide repairs, and when a piece must be replaced, it is difficult to find. I never want to destroy another typewriter merely for a part. I have to be creative and resourceful.

I also had a business partner, Garrett Lai, prior to 2021. We were a fantastic team. He was the one who worked on complicated repairs and I learned so much about how typewriters functioned through him. I was the visionary and creative brain. A great business team is one that fills in the gaps with each member. Garrett’s strengths were my weaknesses, and my strengths were his weaknesses. Sadly, he passed away in 2020 and it has taken me some time to bounce back from this personal loss.

The supportive typewriter community has been the major reason why I have continued on without Garrett. I have found other fantastic people who provide me with their technical expertise and we help support each other in any way we can. It really is a fantastic community!

We’ve been impressed with Typewriter Connection, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Typewriter Connection is all about connecting people to the past, finding new homes for vintage typewriters. We specialize in hunting down typewriters from all over the country and refurbishing them to working order. Typewriters are a personal statement to some, a work instrument to others, or a signature home piece. Each individual is searching for the typewriter that calls out to them. I love to see people light up and say, “That’s it! That’s the one!”

I love that I am keeping a part of history alive in a special way and creating new life and memories for these machines. We are re-creating and re-remembering typewriters in the twenty-first century.

One of my mottos is to not alter the typewriter. I do not paint them or alter them from their original appearance. I will polish, clean, repair, and mend. I try to retain its bona fide personality and impression.

I’m most proud to be contributing to a dying trade – typewriter knowledge and repair. Many typewriters are forgotten or discarded because they ran out of ink or needed some oiling. Knowledge is the best way to keep your typewriter working smoothly and well. Being the provider of basic information of typewriter care and maintenance is so vital so that new owners feel confident and even gain typing techniques. Yes! That is a real thing! I am also proud to provide repairs to those machines that need some extra care.

Although our main services are providing homes to typewriters, we do also sell typewriter ribbon, rent out machines for events, and host typewriter-related events. At my shop, I am also pleased to sell typewriter art by Typin Pint and vintage-themed cards by Heart Strokes.

Any big plans?
There are so many avenues with typewriters, I am taking it day by day! To be honest, 2020 and the COVID-19 lockdown resulted in my shop opening. Prior to that, we were doing mostly events and connecting with people live. In 2020 we began doing more one-on-one meetings (for safety reasons), providing Instagram Lives, and began a Covid Correspondence connecting people all over the world to become pen pals (no typewriter required, although most corresponded with typed letters).

My near future is to continue with the shop and hopefully doing more live events again. It is such a joy for people to test and try these machines out.

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