Small Business Focus: How Shine Kept the Upper West Side’s Tech Humming Through the Pandemic

Daniel Park, American dreamer.

By Susanne Beck

Daniel Park is the owner of Shine Electronic (no “s”) & Computer, recently relocated from West 84th Street to 137 West 83rd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. He is also the store’s lead technician, who fixes all forms of electronic and computer products, including laptops, cellphones, televisions, remotes, and more, as well as wireless and wired systems in offices and homes.

The store’s name – “Shine” – is a reference to a psalm that Daniel found inspiring when he first took the helm of the repair shop almost 30 years ago. It’s also an apt description of the man himself and the cheerful countenance he wears as he greets customers from behind his new high-top counter. But don’t mistake his gentle ways for lack of drive. As one of his loyal customers, Lloyd, says, “Daniel is gutsy…[and] very resourceful. He takes on things that he may not know a lot about and gets them done. [He’s] the ultimate American immigrant success story.”

Hong Min Bag (Daniel’s given name) arrived in New York City from South Korea, alone, in 1986, with a childhood penchant for dismantling radios (“I broke a lot too!” he laughs), a degree in electrical engineering, additional training in the South Korean Navy, and a dream. “Good economics here. Good for work. Much better than South Korea,” Daniel says, explaining his leap into the unknown. He headed to Flushing, Queens, where there is a large Korean community. Despite very limited English, he soon landed a part-time job in electronics. He enrolled in Queens College at night, taking ESL and electronics classes. He became a certified technician for Sony and Samsung products.

In his first years in the U.S., Daniel worked — a lot. In his few free hours on weekends, looking to connect to a community, he started attending Korean church services. “I’m not religious but I go and meet nice people… They looked like they were my own family.” Soon, he met the woman who would become his wife. They married in November, 1998.

One part-time job led to another, and with a growing repertoire of technical skills and a never-ending hunger to make it in America, Daniel arrived seven years later on the Upper West Side, at DJ Electronics on West 81st Street. Within a matter of years, through hard work and a frugal lifestyle, he had saved enough for the business to become his.

Daniel at work.

By February 2020, Daniel’s version of the American Dream was in full bloom. He was his own boss with a growing list of happy customers, like attorney David Wander who turned to him for traditional electronics repairs, as well as computer-related hardware and software issues, and data transfer. “He’s a genius. And his prices! So low!“ David exclaims. “We love Daniel. He’s just great.”

Daniel made himself indispensable, arriving for house calls whenever his clients needed him. “I go to people’s houses, do big [sound, lighting, and computer] systems with like, subwoofer, DVD, and universal remote,” he says with satisfaction. David makes it clear the feeling goes both ways. “He takes care of us so we take care of him…He fixes all the stuff in my home office.” And perhaps, most tellingly, he adds: “He’s the only one my wife will allow in the apartment.”

Daniel’s family was thriving as well. His wife was overseeing her own small business, a nail salon on East 83rd Street and Lexington Avenue that had been started by her father. Their daughter was doing well at Boston University. Ever mindful of those around him, Daniel was also giving back, refurbishing old computers and electronics to donate to those in need in Chisek, Guatemala, through a program he learned about at church.

COVID-19.

COVID’s arrival was an abrupt wakeup call from his dream. Like the rest of New York City, Shine Electronic was forced to close in April and May 2020. While some clients continued to ship broken items to Daniel via UPS, his revenue sank. “It was close to nothing. No one came down in April even though computers were considered essential service.” He was fortunate to receive two rounds of PPP support – “for a little utility, salary” – and tried to negotiate a discount on his rent but to no avail. With his wife’s business closed as well, he dug into his meager savings to get by.

Shine hobbled along into the summer. “Business after June or July was 20-25% down. We were pretty lucky though,” Daniel says. For the housebound and those working from home, computers were a lifeline. House calls inched up despite COVID concerns and the need for safety protocols. “Everyone needed a computer at home and wireless network services.”

Perhaps more challenging for Daniel was watching his wife struggle at her nail salon. “Very tough. A lot of rent.  A lot of employees. But still she’s doing it. Landlord gave her a really good deal so she was still able to survive.”

His landlord was not as accommodating, causing Daniel to relocate yet again just weeks ago, from 84th street to his current home on West 83rd. The rent is a bit higher, but he likes his new space. It’s bigger (plenty of room for his assistant technician, Min, and him to work), and recently renovated. And with the post office next door and a school at the end of the block, there’s the potential for more foot traffic once the “Shine Electronic” sign is installed out front (Daniel has never advertised, relying on Google searches and word of mouth).

In the meantime, Daniel prefers to turn the spotlight away from himself to those who have been vital to his survival so far. “Three people were very, very helpful to me,” he says. “Lester, a lawyer. He helped me with the lease every time I moved. David Wander, also a lawyer, also helped me with the lease. And Louis Ginsburg, real estate guy, helped me find a place.”

Daniel continues to redirect the conversation. “Please tell readers that I will take their old equipment for people in Guatemala. I remove all personal stuff. Fix up computers, fix hard drive and software, and give them away.” His face shines, his smile is shy. And then, quietly, he bows his head, grateful for all that he has been given so far.

COLUMNS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. ajiv says:

      thanks for highlighting! love the recycling program too

    2. bystander says:

      Great story. Best wishes for Shine’s success. Good to know of this resource.

    3. What a tribute to hard work and education - go Daniel and co! says:

      what an inspiration – will definitely try to patronize as didn’t know about store before. Noticed in his account a complete lack of blaming other people, lack of complaints about poverty disadvantages, lack of grievances about systemic this or that, – it’s all hard work, honesty, frugality, securing education to learn skills, and trying to provide value – very unglamorous, very unpopular in today’s “I want it now and if I don’t have it must be Someone’s fault/I am oppressed” culture. This is why immigrants are America’s backbone. This is the American dream personified. This how many immigrant families like mine were raised. Education, 2 parent families, Kindness to others, Hard work. Very refreshing to read.

      • Sarah says:

        Daniel seems like a lovely person, and I wish him all the best.

        It’s nonetheless wrong to use people like him as a stick to beat others. Give the racism a break for a few minutes.

        • American dream says:

          Celebrating immigrants – for their hard work and for daring to believe America is a a place of opportunity – is racist only in an alternate universe. Go Frugality education and hard work! Go proponents like Daniel!

    4. Roseann Milano says:

      Local hero, for sure.

    5. Z says:

      Great feature – cannot praise this guy enough, he is an absolute genius with electronics (both old and new) – wishing continued success, UWS is lucky to have him

    6. Sylvia Lande says:

      Mr. Daniel Park cleaned my computer of a malware virus several years ago. I was glad to find a small store near my apartment to help me with this problem, and it is great his business continues to survive in the neighborhood.

    7. Carol Braverman says:

      I have been a customer since June 2005. Through the years the at-home services given to me have always been professional, courteous and reasonably priced. I would certainly recommend Shine Electronics!

    8. A says:

      Daniel does excellent work and is a genuinely nice guy. Happy to see him getting recognition here!

    9. William says:

      Shine has been fixing my computers for at least 15 years—love them! Thank you for the background information—this is exactly why I read WSR!

    10. Martha says:

      Shine Electronic is going into my “rolodex” right now. Great American immigrant story who works hard and appreciates his blessings!

    11. Barry Lipton says:

      Daniel Park serviced my laptop when my hard drive crashed. He provided exceptional service at a very reasonable price. He was a pleasure to deal with. A neighborhood treasure.

    12. hansol Park says:

      thanks for my uncle hong min park’s story.
      i dimmly remember his back when i was three years old in goheung korea . God bless my uncle PARK’s home
      -hansol Park from seoul-

      • Susanne B Beck says:

        Hi Hansol,

        How were you able to find this article? I am the author of the piece and have learned that your uncle is truly one of a kind. What a lovely, lovely man. You are lucky to have him!

      • Susanne says:

        Hi Hansol,

        How were you able to find this article? I am the author of the piece and have learned that your uncle is truly one of a kind. What a lovely, lovely man. You are lucky to have him!

    13. chris says:

      Thanks for this – a great read but also wonderful to learn of this UWS treasure.
      Thank you WSR for all you do!

    14. Barbara Weiser says:

      I am very glad to see Daniel get recognition for his many
      talents and the services he supplies. I have used him for years for all electronic and computer installations, repairs, upgrades. He really knows his stuff! He is quiet and gets things done. The only problem is that with all this publicity ,how will I ever be able to book him again!

    15. Gail says:

      Shine is wonderful. Skilled technicians, fairly priced and really all around good guys. It’s great to have them in the ‘hood for emergency help with tech issues. I wish them luck in their new location. Let’s support them!

    16. Peter Skoufalos says:

      Always had good results with Shine. Lucky to have them in our nabe.

    17. Gabriel Garber says:

      I have used him for years. He is the best ! Fair, prompt and honest. I cannot praise him and his work enough .

    18. hansol Park says:

      Thanks for my uncle Park’s story. i dimmly remember his back sight at 1985 when i was 3 years old. And met his wife and very pretty doughter at 2002. And now as it is shown at the paper it is great honor of our park’s family.
      I want to visit his shine company someday after this pandamic. give my best wishs^^

    19. Jaesol Park says:

      Great and very touching story.
      But I’m truly happy that my uncle eventually made so-called American dream. His hard work paid off and he deserves all the credits.
      And also his family is thriving in Newyork city. What a great success story!

      I got shocked after checking the location of my uncle’s store and his wife’s nail salon as well. Near Central Park,,,!! Is it real??

      After this Corona pandemic, I will definitely visit with my father.

      BTW, I’ve never seen my uncle before, but I was told a hundred times that I look exactly like my uncle Daniel Bag. Now I see what’s the point,, LOL

      We are also having hard time in the wake of Corona pandemic. But it will end.
      I wish you all the best!

      From your nephew 재솔
      also from Korea.

    20. Bruce says:

      When I opened the tangled vine wine bar & kitchen in 2009 I was looking for a local tech guy to help w/the electronics, computers and video security. Daniel was that guy always there w/a smile and a can do attitude.
      He was a valuable resource from the beginning to the end. Best of luck and continued success in your new space.

    21. Bruce Kluger says:

      This is amazing. Just today, I texted a friend about Shine Electronics. I’ve been a wildly satisfied customer for more than ten years; and as I told my friend, I trust Daniel and Min more than I do any of those fast-talkers at Apple’s Genius Bar. In all this time, Shine has NEVER failed to fix a piece of equipment my family and I have brought in (no matter how badly we screwed up!), and we feel like these guys are family! The new space is gorgeous, and I’m hoping this fine article brings in droves of new customers.