A man fixes a Blackberry phone for his client in his store in Jakarta in this April 17, 2012 file photo.
So it's no wonder there's a sense of disappointment and sadness in this southern Ontario city as residents listen to analysts write the obituary for BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion.
"It's too bad because they're a Canadian company and local company. It was something to be proud of," said Curtis Larocca, a tech company employee in Waterloo who fears the Blackberry-maker's black day will have repercussions across the community.
"I know people who work there," he said Friday. "People are going to be selling their houses. Wages will likely go down because the market will be saturated with laid off RIM employees. It's disappointing."
RIM announced Thursday it would lay off 5,000 people worldwide after posting a $518 million loss. Shares in RIM were down 18%.
"It's not good. Look around here, everything is RIM. What happens if they fold?" asked Tim Kosi, a University of Waterloo engineering student.
He's worried about his computer engineering classmates, many of whom count on the BlackBerry maker for jobs after graduation.
"They hire a lot of people," he said.
But there was a resounding tone of optimism in most people's analysis for the broader Kitchener-Waterloo community, if not for RIM.
There are currently 1,300 job openings in the tech sector, said Avvey Peters, vice-president of external relations for Communitech, a non-profit group that supports tech companies and promotes the Kitchener-Waterloo region as a tech hub.
"For the almost 1,000 other tech companies here, today is business as usual," Peters said. "RIM is a product of the technology ecosystem of KW, not the other way around. There's a lot of startup activity here and it's not a supply-chain cluster so there won't really be a ripple effect as there might be in other industries."
As Peters was touting the entire region as a healthy technology hub, Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran said the community must rally to help those who will lose their jobs.
"RIM has done so much for this community and for communities across the globe," Halloran said.
"Canadians tend not to be supportive of ourselves and here we have a company that is competing on the global market -- we should all be supporting them. We should all think about buying Canadian technology."
Other technology companies may benefit from an influx of skilled labour as RIM employees start handing out resumes.
Kerry Mueller, president of tech company One-Eighty Corp, said she hasn't seen more resumes from RIM employees yet. She said her company supports the BlackBerry maker.
"A number of us have used their products and like them, so we're sad for them," she said.
"It's unfortunate that they've lost some of the prominence in the market but we're hoping they can regain that prominence."
There's no word yet how many of the 5,000 layoffs will come from the company's Waterloo headquarters, which employs about 9,000 people.
Some here are worried the latest layoffs will have a trickle-down effect on the entire local economy, spiraling down to everything from Tim Hortons sales to the real estate market.
When auto-parts manufacturer Budd Canada closed in 2008, leaving 1,500 people out of a job, For Sale signs on homes started going up immediately, said Jack Fitzgerald, a real estate agent for Re/Max in Kitchener-Waterloo.
That's not happening now.
"People that work have equity in their homes, they are response with their money and there are a lot of other jobs in the tech industry in Kitchener-Waterloo," Fitzgerald said.
"I believe a rebound will come. I'm buying RIM stock."