NYC Apple reseller and community staple Tekserve to close Manhattan store

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2016
Tekserve -- both an Apple reseller and a gathering place for Apple users and devotees -- has announced it will close its Manhattan store in August, ending 29 years of service.




The closing of the store on West 23rd Street in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood will cost about 70 employees their jobs, according to The New York Times. Tekserve's service center will remain open until July 31, and its retail store will cease to be on Aug. 15.

In business since 1987, Tekserve has been at its current home at 119 West 23rd St. in the Flatiron District since June of 2002. It occupies the entire first floor of the Printing Arts Building, and has been certified for Apple product repairs since 1993.

Tekserve's store has been known for its offbeat charm, including an antique Coca-Cola machine that has traveled with the retailer as it relocated over the years. In addition to being an Apple-authorized reseller, Tekserve stores have also been a place for Apple fans to gather, offering classes and even including a museum of legacy Apple computers.

Though it has remained in business for nearly three decades, Tekserve faced a number of issues, including the sky-high price of Manhattan real estate. In addition, Apple itself has a total of six stores in Manhattan, including a nearby location in the Meatpacking District on 14th Street.

Employees were informed of Tekserve's closing on Wednesday.

"We love our customers, and we love what we do," CEO Jerry Gepner told the Times. "But there comes a point where that doesn't make sense anymore, as much as we love it."

While Tekserve will no longer have a retail presence, the company will still offer corporate sales and professional services catering to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    irelandireland Posts: 17,660member
    This will be car dealerships in 10 years. Not just because of Apple, but also because of Apple.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 2 of 13
    am8449am8449 Posts: 343member
    This was a great store. 

    I got my G5 tower serviced here when I was having problems with the fans. It used to be my go-to store for Apple products back in the day.

    But now that official Apple Stores are so successful and offer such great first-party service, the need for Tekserve really isn't there anymore. The official end of an era, I guess.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    It's always sad to see businesses close down. I wish those employees who are losing their jobs, the very best of luck in finding new jobs. I guess some fast-food business will take over that real estate.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    I loved visiting Tekserve when I lived in Manhattan.  I know Mr Gepner and his team tried to re-invent the store several years ago, and you could always count on Tekserve to have Apple-related products that weren't stocked at one of the area Apple stores.  Here's hoping all the employees land on their feet!
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Wow! That was a historical landmark -- it was even featured prominently in an episode of "Sex and the City". The end of an era. Good luck to the employees.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    stevenozstevenoz Posts: 237member
    Bummer! As a New Yorker, I have referred many people to Tekserve over the years, as well as going there myself.

    Apple turns its nose up at Macs in need of care over three years old, right? So Tekserve was where you brought your slightly older Mac.

    Now where do we go?!

    I hope someone else will fill the void... as TekServe abandons us.


  • Reply 7 of 13
    What a bummer! If you haven't had the chance to check out the space you should. The 'museum' has some fun stuff for Apple fans. 
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Major bummer. I wonder if this had anything to do with the recently squashed "Fair Repair Act" that would have made parts and manuals available to third parties so they can repair out of warranty equipment. Apple, Xerox and others were greatly apposed to it, but I I feel like this only means more equipment that could easily be repaired going to waste. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest or needs to flip their computer every 3 years. Like cars, people are keeping computers longer. 

    I've worked with Tekserve for many years setting up studios with Avid, so I'm happy that it doesn't effect businesses, but my friends there must have a moment of pause with this announcement. I'm going to make some calls and make sure they're all "safe". 

    Mikey's Hookup in Brooklyn is still around. Never used them but they have been here for years. I wonder if the blocked act effects them as well?
  • Reply 9 of 13
    interdyneinterdyne Posts: 68member
    stevenoz said:
    Bummer! As a New Yorker, I have referred many people to Tekserve over the years, as well as going there myself.

    Apple turns its nose up at Macs in need of care over three years old, right? So Tekserve was where you brought your slightly older Mac.

    Now where do we go?!

    I hope someone else will fill the void... as TekServe abandons us.


    This is very sad. I've known them for almost all 29 years. Mike's Tech Shop - 3 blocks south of Tekserve is authorized for Apple sales and service and does almost everything Tekserve did. 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    kevdrexkevdrex Posts: 13member
    I was there exactly once. I thought the place, the employees and the customers were all fantastic. How sad. 
  • Reply 11 of 13
    ManquemanManqueman Posts: 39member
    A sad day for us customers.

    Was always a cool store. I get how Apple’s retail operation was a problem for independent stores, but Apple’s stores didn’t do everything, specially when it came to repairs.

    Spoiler: Apple didn’t quite put them out of business. Rent did. Instead of moving into the present location, shoulda moved where they could have afforded to eventually buy and own the building. If you're not a New Yorker, more specifically one with any intimacy with Manhattan, so to speak, you have no idea how crazy the rent situation is. I'm sure Apple hurt Tekserve, but not critically, and not even close. Landlord greed did it.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,473member
    Manqueman said:
    A sad day for us customers.

    Was always a cool store. I get how Apple’s retail operation was a problem for independent stores, but Apple’s stores didn’t do everything, specially when it came to repairs.

    Spoiler: Apple didn’t quite put them out of business. Rent did. Instead of moving into the present location, shoulda moved where they could have afforded to eventually buy and own the building. If you're not a New Yorker, more specifically one with any intimacy with Manhattan, so to speak, you have no idea how crazy the rent situation is. I'm sure Apple hurt Tekserve, but not critically, and not even close. Landlord greed did it.
    Well...it's probably actually an equal combination of both along with the increasingly inability to be able to easily repair Apple products and the fact that Apple gives retailers very little margin on their products.   I think most consumers think of Apple stores first, especially now that there are six Apple stores in Manhattan (and one in Queens and one soon coming to Brooklyn).   And those that don't probably go to a Best Buy for acquisitions.   When Apple opened the first Manhattan store, the late lamented J&R moved all of the Apple line to a different, less desirable location in the store.    But they're now out of business as well.    I think they owned their buildings, but e-commerce, the crashing of the recorded music business and the reduction of margin by electronics manufacturers killed them.  

    Rents in Manhattan are completely ridiculous and so are building acquisitions.   It's not unusual for an old 4-story tenement building with a store at street level to go for $15 million.    Rents can easily be $200/sq ft. and up to $1000 sq/ft on Madison and Park Avenues.   When Apple opened the first store on Fifth Avenue, they got an especially sweet deal, partially because the store is in the basement.   Almost no retailer can stay once their lease is up because it's likely the new rent is 3 to 5 times the old rent.   It's still shocking to me that there's not one major record store left in Manhattan and most of the tiny ones are gone (or are going) as well.   

    NYC used to be great because there were few chain stores aside from department stores, Nedick's, Modell's and small regional (non-franchise) chains like Sam Goody's, Peerless-Willoughby's and Lafayette Radio.   Now it's become just like everywhere else.  I think this is a big strategic mistake because a big part of the economy is tourism and why come to NYC if all you see is the same stuff you can see in your mall back home (although dumb tourists seem to seek out what they know anyway).  But as you say, landlord greed is dominant and chains and banks are wiling to pay the ridiculously high rents and landlords know that chains and banks are reliable payers.   My local Barnes & Noble is gone (they weren't even asked to renew the lease) and is being replaced by a mini-Target.   A small burger/diner place that had been on the upper west side for over 40 years was forced out when a rent increase would have brought their rent to about $2 million a year.  It's now a bank.    NYC has lost 32% of its movie theaters since 2001 and although rent isn't the only factor, it's a big one.   And of course, artists, who first moved into the Village, then SoHo, then alphabet city and the lower east side, and then Williamsburg are being completely forced out of the city because there is nowhere reasonably priced to live anymore (unless you're already in there), except perhaps in some sections of The Bronx.     NYC is probably not quite as bad as San Francisco/Palo Alto, but it's close. 

    Part of the problem is buildings that constantly get re-sold for ever more money have huge debt service even in this low-interest environment.   In order for there to be a return, they have to charge enormous rents.   Then the buildings that have been in the same hands for generations and have no mortgage raise their prices to match.   That's where the true greed is.

    I bought my last MBP at TekServe and my son-in-law gave them tons of business as an I.T. consultant.  It's sad to see them go. 
    edited July 2016 jlandd
  • Reply 13 of 13
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member
    I used to lug my Mac Plus up three flights of stairs when they were in the attic-like location down the block for its endless stream of power supply and logic board replacements.  David Lerner was probably the nicest, most down to earth person running a repair business of any kind that I'd ever met.  

    Rent putting them out of business is a bit of an oversimplification, though it surely is ridiculous trying to compete with big boxes who will plop a giant store in a neighborhood just to be there, regardless of the cost.  Their large space and prime location could easily be filled with anything from a home furnishings to 99¢ store, which the neighborhood needs not at all, whose corporate headquarters is in Dallas and has no limit or risk in shelling out higher than market rent because if they fail they just pull the pushpin from the map and stick one somewhere else.  

    But the reality is that their niche became unworkable.  For one, Apple has moved away from hardware that can be upgraded. Also, there are so many Apple Stores in NYC now that whether or not one can argue they do what Tekserve can do it's inevitable that if you live on the Upper West Side or Upper East Side or the Village you would stop by an AS first and go to 23rd St. if you weren't satisfied with the outcome. I loved those guys but peripherals and accessories were more expensive there than anywhere else in town, and they rarely had a sale on those that could really be considered a deal.  I've gone in just begging to find a last minute Apple related gift for sometimes $50 sometimes $350 and just about always left empty handed.  B&H has ruled the roost for impulse hardware in midtown west and looks to continue.  You don't need to do what they do but if you sell $350 widgets you have to be at least within 10% on most.  And the Best Buy across 23rd St is no one's idea of a good computer store, but if one can find a good iPhone case there for $30-40 you won't sell many artsy print ones at $70.  Same for drives, portable, desktop or bare.  It made little sense to buy them at Tekserve.  Granted, the retail stuff was just something to put on the shelves and that the real business was in business setups and support as well as repair, but they needed to create a better Trojan Horse to bring in business customers than the retail establishment they had going on, I think.

    As far as moving elsewhere where they could afford to purchase the building, they moved down the block from their previous location because that's where they were established, and they got a lot of business from people who either worked or lived not far from 23rd and 6th.  I can't think of any places in Manhattan where such a space wouldn't require a steep dropoff in people willing to shlep there and would have been a savings over 23rd St.   It probably became available and they grabbed it.  In hindsight we can say that such a huge, airy space with Grand Central Station-like dimensions was a misstep and that they might have been able to halve it down without affecting service, but who knows?

    I wish them the best.  Really good people.
    sternapples53docno42
Sign In or Register to comment.