With free Wi-Fi becoming more and more available, people no longer want to pay $8 an hour at an Internet café.
Cyber Station Café in Tatamy will close Saturday, Sept. 26.
Curt and Marie Scott will host a yard sale Thursday through Saturday at the café, at 756 Main St. They will sell computer equipment and small appliances.
The Scotts will continue to offer computer sales and repairs from their nearby home at 35 S. 7th St.
Curt Scott is the owner, while his wife Marie Scott is store manager. She has managed the café, taken customers’ orders, ordered supplies and answered phone calls since they opened in January 2004.
But times have changed in 11 years.
“We decided to close because technology has changed drastically,” Marie Scott said. “The majority of the people today use their smartphones for the Internet.”
When the café first opened, its nickname was “Tatamy’s Digital Library.” The Scotts believed local folks needed a digital library, since some didn’t have Internet access at home.
The café welcomed more than 300 members — early teens to senior citizens from Bangor, Pen Argyl, Nazareth, Easton and Bethlehem. Out-of-state customers on business or vacation would also come in to use the computers, Marie Scott said.
Students needed to use Microsoft Office, and gamers enjoyed coming in to play on the computers.
We live in a different time now, she said. It’s been four years since kids came in to play games.
“The gaming population can buy Steam from the local box stores (such as) Best Buy,” she said.
Steam provides more than 3,500 video games that users can play on any device, and users can also communicate with fellow gamers.
They lack the need for the Cyber Station Café, which offered both Internet access and food.
The Scotts had thrived on creating a “friendly, helpful and informative” atmosphere, she said, and the cafe’s website even offered options to socialize away from screens.
Access to the Internet and the explosion of smartphone usage changed things.
By 2012, 95 percent of teens were online, according to a September 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center, and 81 percent of those teens used some form of social media.
Today’s young people only a know a world where the Internet is ubiquitous.
The Scotts have watched their customers change and dwindle, Marie said.
“The use of cell phones took over the majority of our business,” she said. “It is much easier to use the smartphone for Internet usage, contacting friends and family, and doing business.”
While customers are no longer interested in taking computer classes, the Scotts are realize other ways to continue their business. That’s why they will offer computer sales and repairs from home.
“Computer repairs will always be in demand as long as people have computers,” she said.
You can check out Cyber Station Cafe’s Facebook page at this link.
Sienna Mae Heath is a freelance writer. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.