MANSFIELD -- Najie “Reggie” Okab has dreamt his whole life of owning a cell phone shop. As a child hanging out in his family’s convenience store, he watched with fascination as the inventory evolved from flip phones to smartphones.
“I was like man, one day I want to open a phone and repair business,” said Okab, a Lexington High School graduate. “So that's what I did -- dream come true.”
“I've had the passion since I was a kid, I get excited when I sell a phone. I get excited when I get somebody that wants me to fix a phone because I put my heart into it."
The shop sells a variety of electronics, including cell phones, bluetooth speakers and sound bars. Cell World also carries accessories for phones like cases, chargers, lanyards and earbuds. If a customer is looking for something that isn't in stock, the store can special order it.
Cell World does not offer financing, but Okab guarantees the lowest prices in town without the hidden fees that wireless carriers charge.
Okab is an authorized representative for multiple wireless carriers, meaning he can set customers up with a plan on Verizon, Boost Mobile, T Mobile, MetroPCS, Simple Mobile and others. The store also sells unlocked phones.
He said ultimate goal is to make things easy for customers so that they leave with a smile -- whether they simply want to purchase a phone or need help activating it and setting up an account.
“Once you come here, we put the money on your account, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of paying your bill. We even set up auto pay,” he said.
Okab also repairs damaged phones. He took classes in phone repair and also learned the trade from relatives in Florida who are repair technicians. He strives to make repair customers feel like they're leaving with a brand new phone.
“Any mobile device we fix from scratch, from screens, motherboards, batteries -- everything,” he said.
Cell World opened on Nov. 15 at 343 Lexington Avenue, the former home of Cobblestone Confections.
Okab and his father renovated the building from top to bottom before opening the store.
“It was in bad shape,” he recalled. “We built it from scratch from outside to inside.”
“This is my father and I’s work from the tiling, to the walls, to the ceiling.”
'Mansfield is home'
Okab said the business is not only a chance to follow his dream, it’s also an opportunity to give back to the community he calls home. Born in Maryland, Okab grew up in the Mansfield area and graduated from Lexington High School.
His parents, Joe and Mary Okab, immigrated to the United States from Palestine in the 1980s.
After moving to Mansfield, they owned and operated Joe & Mary’s Market on Sturges Avenue for many years. The family later opened a second store, Diamond Beauty, on South Diamond Street.
“We've had businesses since we've been here. I grew up here and I know the community here and a lot of people know me,” he said. “I love Mansfield. I had many opportunities to leave, but this is home.”
Okab learned the value of hard work early from both of his parents.
“They’re my heroes,” he said. “The number one thing my Dad taught me is, you got to earn what you want. Nothing is given to you. My dad never gave me anything. He told me you want this? Okay, go pay for it.”
“He taught me a lot, especially in business,” he said. “If it wasn't for my dad, I wouldn't be me.”
Nevertheless, he described his mom as “superwoman” and the hardest worker in the family. She worked primarily at home, raising her five children.
“We drove her nuts,” he said with a laugh.
Like his parents, Okab prides himself on good customer service. He wants clients to leave with a smile on their face, regardless of how they felt when they stepped into the shop.
“We try to help out everybody we can the best of our ability and we try to make people leave and want to come back," he said. "That's our number one goal. At the same time, we're here to make a living, but in the right way.”