Some 37 years after it received the first batch of Apple computers to sell, FirstTech will close both of its locations in Minneapolis on March 29th.
TwinCities.com reports that when Apple first began selling personal computers in the late ’70s, its first batch of computers went to Team Electronics in the Twin Cities. Team Electronics was eventually renamed FirstTech.
The independent Apple reseller announced on Wednesday that it is closing its stores, its last day of business will be March 29th. A going-out-of-business sale begins today, Thursday March 20th.
Product manager Fred Evans says the store’s demise is due to market forces, as the company couldn’t compete with aggressive national retailers who have “basically been willing to sell the computer equipment below cost to go after the national service business.”
He noted it became increasingly difficult to compete by offering personalized service when you can’t make any money off the product you’re selling.
“It has been a dramatic change in that regard, the last couple of years in particular,” Evans said.
FirstTech also found it difficult to compete with Apple’s own five retail locations in the Twin Cities, including one just a few blocks away from FirstTech’s Hennepin Avenue location.
When hot new Apple devices went on sale, Apple stores generally received ample shipments, while stores like FirstTech got lesser allotments.
FirstTech attempted to compliment Apple’s stores, instead of competing with them, as it diversified into education-technology products such as classroom sound systems and interactive whiteboards.
Evans insisted that relations between FirstTech and Apple remained friendly. Apple even referred repairs of older Mac models that they no longer worked on to FirstTech.
Evans recalled that when FirstTech first contracted to sell Apple’s computers the Cupertino company was so new to the business, that it didn’t have its own paperwork for closing the deal. So FirstTech grabbed one of its own contracts, removed the customer’s name from it, and added Apple’s.
“The person who bought that first Apple II also bought our first Lisa (computer) and our first Macintosh,” Evans said. “To this day, he is still our customer.”