Faces Of Fargo Business: Rylan Drake

Written by: Brady Drake

Photos by Hilary Ehlen

Owner: Red River ReCell

My name is Rylan Drake and I am the owner and operator of a new business in Fargo called Red River ReCell. We buy, sell, and repair mobile devices. This includes smartphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches and more. We offer our customers great alternatives to the unaffordable price tags of new smartphones and tech products. We have the largest selection of certified pre-owned devices in the FM Area and offer an in-town price match guarantee on all of our products and repair services.

A day in the life of Rylan Drake:

Most of the day consists of repairs being performed. We are competitively priced so we do see quite a bit of traffic and try our best to get all of our repair products back to the customer within an hour of being dropped off. Other roles as a business owner are to ensure that inventory is staying at desired levels, creating marketing strategies, communicating with customers who contact us through our online portals, and just making sure that the business is all-around running smoothly.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

As a 2019 graduate of Concordia College Offutt School of Business, a lot of people gave me advice that I should try to work for someone or some company out of college. While this may not be bad advice, I am so thankful that I took the risk to start my own business. I love going to work every day, I love the challenges and risks that come with working for yourself. 

What keeps you up at night?

What keeps me up at night is the excitement that self-employment brings. The limitless ceiling and endless possibilities to grow a business can be really exhilarating. I am actively trying to get connected to local businesses that distribute cell phones to their employees. When it is time for them to upgrade the devices, they often sell them back to places like Verizon or AT&T at very low buyback prices, I would be able to offer them much better buyback prices. 

What would you give a TED Talk on?

Oh man, maybe am I qualified should be the first question! I would love to tell other young people about why taking risks are opportunities to learn and grow. While you will definitely make mistakes along the way, you will feel challenged and learn from those challenges that allow you to be better equipped to succeed in the future.  

How does the reality of your job differ from people’s perception of it?

With a retail store, some may think that you just open the doors in the morning and sit and wait for customers to come in. In reality, the walk-in traffic is just one aspect. There are lots of behind the scenes efforts that go on that no one will see.

What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization?

If local businesses offer their employees mobile devices, please contact me with inquiries on how we can buy, repair, and insure your mobile devices. We can offer services and prices that are unmatched. 

If you could thank one person who’s contributed to your success, who would it be and why?

While in high school and college, I worked at Play It Again Sports in Fargo. If it were not for working for the owner Eric Netland, who gave me a first-hand experience in the operation of a business, I do not believe that I would have the understanding of the second-hand market in the way that I do now. Which has allowed me to go forth and take the leap to start my own business.

3 media recommendations:

While working, I enjoy listening to podcasts. My top 3 are This American Life, which consists of short stories of Americans on a wide range of topics that are thought-provoking.

This American Life logo

Listen Money Matters, which in my opinion is an excellent personal finance podcast, especially for young entrepreneurs.

Listen Money Matters logo

And The Indicator, which is a short 15-minute radio program that talks about a certain economic, business, or financial topics.

The Indicator logo

What’s your “why”?

The second-hand market fulfills a very important niche. Electronics and mobile devices have become such an important part of everyday life, yet the prices can be cost-prohibitive for consumers especially if you have a family and every member needs their own device(s), Red River ReCell can purchase products at fair prices and sell upgrades beating traditional seller pricing. Our service department can provide repairs to extend the life of devices, something that is becoming increasingly important in our day to day lives.

What’s one characteristic you believe every great leader should possess?

A great leader needs to have vision and creativity. They must determine the needs of the market and then figure out how to meet these needs more efficiently than the competition. They also must be able to lead by example rather than just telling people what to do, they must understand the business process better than anyone else, and to do that. A leader needs to be setting an example for how the key functions of the operation should run.

What’s a local/state resource your organization has utilized recently?

I have utilized both city and state officials as a resource for various legal/regulatory issues. They have been very helpful and I would urge others to utilize them.

Rylan Drake, owner Red River ReCell
Rylan Drake, owner Red River ReCell
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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.