Alum gives new life to old tech

Having to buy a new laptop or smartphone can get really expensive, especially on a college student’s budget. One Cobber grad may have the business that is the solution to those problems. 

Rylan Drake, a 2019 Concordia graduate with a degree in International Business, recently opened his own business Red River ReCell in order to offer repairs and sales of certified, pre-owned smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Drake opened his store in Fargo a few months ago. 

 “Business has been going well. There is a lot more that goes into running a business than I thought there would be,” Drake said. “There are a lot of bills that need to be paid.” 

Drake described how his Concordia education has helped influence him in his business endeavors. 

“Concordia has an excellent business program. It really helped me with being responsible and becoming a better leader,” He said. “I was able to grow and learn in so many different ways with the help of my professors.” 

Having worked at the second-hand sports store Play-it Again Sports in high school, Drake knew that he had an interest in working in the second-hand market. 

“I knew that I wanted to do something with electronics,” Drake said. “Electronics are only getting more expensive and people aren’t wanting to spend a ton of money on them when they have other expenses to take care of. I wanted people to have a more affordable option.”

Drake is currently the only employee at Red River ReCell

“Being the only employee has its challenges, but it also has helped me learn about being a leader to myself. I need to be holding myself accountable so that I am able to make a profit,” He said. “It can sometimes be hard to juggle all of the responsibilities by myself, but I’m growing more and more every day.” 

Drake recalls the numerous professors and staff that impacted him during his time at Concordia.  Dr. Elizabeth Ewing Lee, an adjunct professor in psychology who also teaches business statistics was one of those professors who had a profound impact on Drake. 

“I had Rylan in my business statistics class. I always remember that he was an attentive student, and always asked questions that would benefit the entire class,” Dr. Ewing Lee said. “He was a great student to have in class.” 

Dr. Tao Ming, Concordia’s Chinese professor, also had a strong impact on Drake. 

“I had Rylan in class for three years and I could see he had an entrepreneurial spirit right away,” Ming said. 

Ming also mentioned the advantages of being able to speak another language, especially in the business world. 

“It can be really helpful if you can speak another language,” He said. “You are able to better communicate with business partners and are able to build better relationships with them.”

Ming is looking forward to seeing how far Drake will go in his business endeavors. 

“People do not always succeed with their first business, but Rylan is doing extremely well,” He said. “I anticipate that his business will only continue to grow in the coming months.” 

Drake had advice to students who have the ambitions to open their own businesses one day.

“Really work hard in school. Students aren’t always doing as much work as we should be,” Drake said. “You might miss events or activities, but the knowledge you’ll have gained will be worth it in the long run.” 

Red River ReCell is located at 2512 7th Ave S in Fargo and is open Monday-Friday from 2-8PM, Saturday from 12-8PM, and Sunday from 12-6PM.

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