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World's first Apple computer retailer to shutter operations on Mar. 30

post #1 of 89
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Employees at Minneapolis-based FirstTech, the world's first Apple reseller, learned on Wednesday that the store will be closing its doors at the end of March after 73 years in business.

FirstTech
FirstTech Minneapolis will be closing on Mar. 30 after selling Apple computers for 37 years. | Source: FirstTech


Some 37 years after it sold the world's first Apple computer, FirstTech will close both of its Minneapolis locations on Mar. 30, reports TwinCities.com.

Originally founded as Team Electronics in 1941, FirstTech sold Apple's first personal computer in 1977 and has been selling and repairing the company's machines ever since. Prior to Apple products, the shop sold a variety of analog electronics like radios, televisions and phonographs.

With its close ties to Apple, FirstTech experienced first-hand the tumultuous rise, fall and ultimate resurgence of the Cupertino, Calif., company. Ironically, an important aspect to Apple's recent ascension -- the Apple Store -- contributed at least in part to FirstTech's demise.

In a bid to remain relevant in a fast changing economic landscape, FirstTech opened a second store in 2013 to service an area where Apple retail had yet to reach. The small company also branched out by selling education technology products like digital whiteboards, while growing its tech consulting and repair business.

In the end, however, the small local shop was unable to compete with the five nearby Apple Stores, national big-box retailers and online sales companies. When the shop closes, 75 employees will be out of a job.
post #2 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

the world's first Apple reseller, learned on Wednesday that the store will be closing its doors at the end of March after 73 years in business.

darn it!! only 2 more years and they would have made it to 3/4 of a century. 

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post #3 of 89
Thank you, FirstTech. Good luck to the employees.
post #4 of 89
Quote: FirstTech sold Apple's first personal computer in 1972

Wow, that's truly impressive! They've been selling them since 4 years before the first one was even made!
post #5 of 89

Sad day in Apple History....

post #6 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

When the shop closes, 75 employees will be out of a job.

 

I bet they have pretty good resumes for the five local Apple Stores that put FirstTech out of business!

post #7 of 89
Very sad to read this. I hope the employees (including the guys in the photo) are able to find other employment soon.
post #8 of 89
I'll bet this news will make @Dick Applebaum shed a tear. Always difficult to let something go.
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post #9 of 89
OMG no! I took the bus downtown just to visit them in the late 70's when I was in High School! Without giving my identity away, because it's so important ( 1rolleyes.gif ), I grew up in the North Suburbs... that's all I'm going to say about that.... 1smoking.gif

All good things come to an end sooner or later, and I hope that the employees all find a new rewarding job soon!
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post #10 of 89

Very sad indeed, but in my books a "small local shop" does not have 75 employees. Like others have said, I am sure they won't have a hard time getting a job in the other stores. It seems like anyone can get a job at an Apple Store and they will be Pros, so they'll get good positions no doubt.

 

Good luck to everyone who worked there and a bow to the incredible foresight of the owner who started selling the first apple computers - history might have gone down completely differently and haeven forbid I'd be writing this on a crappy PC.

 

That said, if they were a small local shop selling just PCs they would have been out of business a decade ago. ;)

post #11 of 89

That's life.

post #12 of 89
Retail is hard. Kudos for the years of service.
post #13 of 89
"Employees at Minneapolis-based FirstTech, the world's first Apple reseller, learned on Wednesday that the store will be closing its doors at the end of March after 73 years in business."

Heck I thought I did well opening an Apple Store in 1978 to sell Apple ][s. These guys must have had a damn time machine which i consider cheating. 1biggrin.gif
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #14 of 89
Look forward, not back.

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post #15 of 89
Sad to see a local business shut down, but they weren't competitive on price, and slow to turn around repairs.

Farewell, FirstTech.
post #16 of 89
Apple forced small business to close. DOJ to investigate stating "why can't Apple be more like Amazon."

Still, it's a shame they closed. Best of luck to the employees.
post #17 of 89
The last paragraph of this AI story needs to be expanded. Here's what their product manager said in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

***

Evans attributes FirstTech's demise to market forces, including shrinking hardware margins amid competition from a growing number of aggressive national vendors.

These vendors have "basically been willing to sell the computer equipment below cost to go after the national service business," he noted. It became increasingly difficult for "a brick-and-mortar to offer personalized service when we 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.

Apple Inc., which does not heavily discount its products, had little to do with this trend, he said.

***

http://www.twincities.com/business/ci_25378187/minneapolis-firsttech-apple-retailing-pioneer-is-closing

I hate to say it, but look to the online discounters featured right here on AI as one of the reasons. The online marketplace is draining sales from bricks-and-mortar stores. So it goes.

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post #18 of 89

There were a number of excellent, small tech retailers that sold Apple products and took care of their customers. But Apple needed to open its own stores in the face of the big box stores like Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Sears, etc. that treated Apple products like a red-headed step child. I vividly remember the shoddy way Apple was relegated to the back corner of those stores. I remember the pimple-faced nerd wannabes who slithered around those stores extolling the virtues of Windows or anything else other than Apple. Apple is STILL dealing with that mentality in Best Buy stores. You walk in the door and you have to ask somebody where the iPhones and Macs are. Samsung is plastered all over the store, probably because they are paying big bucks for the space. 

 

Anyway, the local retailers like firstTECH have fallen on their swords and that’s kinda sad.

post #19 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

There were a number of excellent, small tech retailers that sold Apple products and took care of their customers. But Apple needed to open its own stores in the face of the big box stores like Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Sears, etc. that treated Apple products like a red-headed step child. I vividly remember the shoddy way Apple was relegated to the back corner of those stores. I remember the pimple-faced nerd wannabes who slithered around those stores extolling the virtues of Windows or anything else other than Apple. Apple is STILL dealing with that mentality in Best Buy stores. You walk in the door and you have to ask somebody where the iPhones and Macs are. Samsung is plastered all over the store, probably because they are paying big bucks for the space. 

Anyway, the local retailers like firstTECH have fallen on their swords and that’s kinda sad.

And look what happened to the big box stores in general when they suddenly became little more than display windows for the online retailer/discounters like Amazon. Most Apple products don't come at a significant discount, but look at the prices for PCs and peripherals. The chains you mentioned are by-and-large ... GONE. Best Buy is hanging on with online sales, aggressive specials and store pickup of online orders. For customers who can resist their urge for instant gratification, Best Buy gets beat by the online retailers that can fill orders without charging sales tax. The retail landscape sure ain't pretty these days.

So then, one can ask, how it is that the Apple Retail Stores continue to succeed. Because they hew to Steve Jobs's vision! Their primary function is not to sell, but to INFORM and EDUCATE. The true strength of Apple products is based in their interoperability, in other words, the ECOSYSTEM. Consumers, especially first-timers, need to become acquainted with the many more things they can do with Apple devices than they may have been aware of when they walked in the door.
Edited by Kibitzer - 3/20/14 at 7:08am

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post #20 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


The retail landscape sure ain't pretty these days.

 

Except for the shining triumph of Apple’s own retail stores.

post #21 of 89
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Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I'll bet this news will make @Dick Applebaum shed a tear. Always difficult to let something go.

My first thought was,"What are the odds @Dick Applebaum has a story about this place?"

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post #22 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

I hate to say it, but look to the online discounters featured right here on AI as one of the reasons. The online marketplace is draining sales from bricks-and-mortar stores. So it goes.

 

Yep, I never heard of these guys until now.  I got hosed supporting one of the so called "featured sponsors" of this site.  While the machine was slightly less than ordering direct from Apple, I got the old bait and switch as my reward.  There aren't any close "mom and pop" retailers around me that I'm aware of.  I'm willing to pay full MSRP versus supporting the slime that online retailing has become.

Just say no to MacMall.  They don't honor their promotions and won't respond to customer inquiries.  There are better retailers out there.
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Just say no to MacMall.  They don't honor their promotions and won't respond to customer inquiries.  There are better retailers out there.
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post #23 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Except for the shining triumph of Apple’s own retail stores.

Yep. I added the last paragraph to my previous comment while you posted your response. Thanks.

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post #24 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by razorpit View Post

Yep, I never heard of these guys until now.  I got hosed supporting one of the so called "featured sponsors" of this site.  While the machine was slightly less than ordering direct from Apple, I got the old bait and switch as my reward.  There aren't any close "mom and pop" retailers around me that I'm aware of.  I'm willing to pay full MSRP versus supporting the slime that online retailing has become.
Sorry to hear. I bought my wife a 20" Haswell iMac before Christmas from one of these guys at an excellent price and prompt free shipping.

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post #25 of 89
75 employees is pretty large for a small local shop. Regardless, I wish them all the best.
post #26 of 89
Check your subhead ... 37 years vs. 73 years.
post #27 of 89

I am all to familiar with Apple Resellers, family owned one for 26 years and it is still running under different owners these days. It's not hard to see why FirstTech is shutting their doors. First of all, 75 employees is outrageous, don't even know how that is possible.

 

They were also slaves to the hardware sales, which you cannot compete with Apple on that. I know for a fact they used to match Apple's education price on computers, and when they do that they would either make no money or lose a little bit of money. They focused too much on competing with Apple instead of differentiating themselves from Apple.

 

Sad to see them go but not surprised.

post #28 of 89
Quote:
 In the end, however, the small local shop was unable to compete with the five nearby Apple Stores, national big-box retailers and online sales companies.

 

Why would anybody shop there when there are five Apple stores nearby?  Apple stores are a lot better than this place, which sells all different kinds of brands.

post #29 of 89

73 years

37 years

 

Dyslexia runs rampant within the AI writer and editorial community!

post #30 of 89
Originally Posted by ziggy787 View Post
Check your subhead ... 37 years vs. 73 years.
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post
73 years

37 years

 

Dyslexia runs rampant within the AI writer and editorial community!

 

Read the article. They’re both correct.

post #31 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Look forward, not back.

1confused.gif I always thought it was "Fall Forward, Spring Back". 1confused.gif
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post #32 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post
 

 

Why would anybody shop there when there are five Apple stores nearby?  Apple stores are a lot better than this place, which sells all different kinds of brands.

Well, because (in my case)... sometimes you want to get the part, instead of having your laptop shipped off to Genius land.   

 

my last trip to FirstTech was to get an Apple SuperDrive to install on my daughter's 2008 macbook.   Went to MoA Apple Store  and they couldn't give me the part to fix it, as the only option was depot repair and a week out and back and costy.  FirstTech had the part, and while more costy, it was fixed by end of day (by me).

 

FirstTech died the day the Uptown Apple store opened (3 blocks away ).   I'm sure the management realized it then, but their other business lines may have been thought to cushion the blow.  The lived the longest, but there are none that I know of independent small PC/Office Automation stores in SoMpls.  With OfficeMax and Target downtown, and all the 'Dales having Box stores,  I'm trying to think if there are any independent tech stores of scale in Minneapolis Proper.


Edited by TheOtherGeoff - 3/20/14 at 8:14am
post #33 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

OMG no! I took the bus downtown just to visit them in the late 70's when I was in High School! Without giving my identity away, because it's so important ( 1rolleyes.gif ), I grew up in the North Suburbs... that's all I'm going to say about that.... 1smoking.gif

All good things come to an end sooner or later, and I hope that the employees all find a new rewarding job soon!

My early years were in St. Louis Park 1939-1951.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I'll bet this news will make @Dick Applebaum shed a tear. Always difficult to let something go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I'll bet this news will make @Dick Applebaum shed a tear. Always difficult to let something go.

My first thought was,"What are the odds @Dick Applebaum has a story about this place?"

Nope! No knowledge of this dealer.
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post #34 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Nope! No knowledge of this dealer.

Too bad. I always like you reminiscent of your past.
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post #35 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by razorpit View Post

Yep, I never heard of these guys until now.  I got hosed supporting one of the so called "featured sponsors" of this site.  While the machine was slightly less than ordering direct from Apple, I got the old bait and switch as my reward.  There aren't any close "mom and pop" retailers around me that I'm aware of.  I'm willing to pay full MSRP versus supporting the slime that online retailing has become.

Why don't you name the vendor and say what happened? Specifics make a complaint more believable.

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post #36 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

1confused.gif I always thought it was "Fall Forward, Spring Back". 1confused.gif

I thought it was, "I've fallen and can't get up!™"

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post #37 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Read the article. They’re both correct.

sigh... speed reading fails me.

post #38 of 89

Wasn't the first Apple retailer the Byte Shop in Silicon Valley? I mean they sort of funded the start of Apple Computer right?

 

Perhaps the headline should read "World's second Apple computer retailer to shutter operations on Mar. 30"?

post #39 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Nope! No knowledge of this dealer.

Too bad. I always like you reminiscent of your past.

Well, sorta' related ...

This used to be the oldest Apple Dealer in California -- it's where my dad bought his Apple ][ in 1978 (a month before I got mine). I suspect that they might have have assumed the title of the world's oldest Apple dealer:

Quote:
For over thirty years, Di-No Computers has been helping its customers get the most out of their Apple Computers. Whether it is general-purpose home use or highly sophisticated business applications, Di-No Computers is the premier solution source for all of your digital lifestyle needs. Di-No Computers has one of the largest service facilities in Southern California, and has expert consultants offering a number of computer-related services including: training, network configuration & design, internet setup, data recovery, system configuration, and technical assistance.

Di-No Computers is your one-stop solution store with a wide assortment of Mac-specific hardware and software products. Di-No’s special order department can even track down those hard to find items.

Whether it is your first or fifteenth computer, home or office, Di-No Computers’ friendly sales staff looks forward to putting together a system that is best for you. We appreciate being your computer reseller of choice.

http://di-no.com/2012/


FWIW. There are several Apple Stores within a 10-mile radius. Di-No has managed to stay in business despite competition from the nearby Apple Stores and online resellers. They cultivate customers like CalTech/JPL and provide great service. D-No was founded by Sal Cordero as a sideline to his Hammond Organ dealership. It is named after his 2 daughters Diane and Noreen. Sal was an old friend of the family.
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post #40 of 89
Quote:
When the shop closes, 75 employees will be out of a job.

 

Or maybe 57 employees?  Hard to believe the numbers in this story….  (even given that 73 years and 37 years are both correct)


Edited by TeaEarleGreyHot - 3/20/14 at 8:44am
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