Via TwinCities.com, the first ever Apple authorized reseller is going to end business after over 36 years of trading. Located in Minneapolis, Team Electronics (which later changed its name to FirstTech) was shipped Apple’s first batch of computers in the late 1970’s. It has sold Apple devices for more than three decades, celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2012.However, on March 29th, the shop will close due to shrinking margins.

Product manager Fred Evans says that the company has been outstripped by national distributors who often sold machines below cost.

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’s own retail expansion has also constrained FirstTech’s customer base over the years. Apple now runs five of its own stores in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. Despite this, Evans said that relationships between the two companies was “friendly and productive”. Apparently, Apple stores would refer customers to FirstTech regarding repairs of older Mac models that most retail stores would not want to deal with.

The report highlights an amusing story about the beginnings of Apple. FirstTech, which actually predates Apple (selling consumer electronics like radios and such years before Apple’s existence), had to reuse some of their own contracts to sign the early Apple agreements.

Apple was so new to computer selling, it did not have its own paperwork for consummating deals, Evans said. So FirstTech grabbed one of its older contracts, removed the customer name from it and added Apple’s name.

Pete Paulsen, who sold the company’s first computer shortly afterward, went on to become FirstTech’s general manager.

“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.”

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13 Responses to “World’s first Apple reseller to close this month, after 37 years of selling Apple products”

  1. themis333 says:

    Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    Sad.

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  2. dksmidtx says:

    They seem like an awesome company – and a real throwback tot he early computer retailers in suburban strip malls that many of us grew up hanging out at. Like watching the passing of the local book stores. So sad…

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  3. Daniel Moran says:

    We, as a people, need to start buying local again. This ‘Amazon-Complex’ we have is killing the soul of the mom & pop shops. If I live close to this place, I would’ve bought stuff from them. We need more of these businesses… This is really sad.

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    • Daniel, I respectfully disagree. To my thinking the last thing we need is more middlemen. The history of this particular reseller is interesting, and it’s sad to see an era end, but I think the ability of resellers to add value is largely a thing of the past. Formerly, I would rely on resellers to help steer my purchases by providing guidance about reliability, functionality, or interoperability- all of which is now done better and on a larger scale online. That’s the nature of the shift.
      If I were to wish for a change in our collective buying habits, I’d like to see more buying of locally made products, which in turn would mean more of a manufacturing base here. That’s a value add that lasts. Cheers.

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      • Ryan Weaver says:

        Mooky, I respectfully disagree with your disagreement. Do you actually believe in the validity of online endorsements and comments? You do know there are companies who’s soul function is to create content on comment boards endorsing products and creating “consumer” reports. To go into “the nature of the shift” you need to look at the cause of the shift and who really benefits. You as a consumer are told what to buy, where to buy it, and how much it should cost by an online presence which cares nothing for your needs. The “middlemen” are at the very least people with a vested interest in the customer’s satisfaction. When small business customers have an issue they have a place to voice that concern and work towards resolution because it is in the business owners interest. Not so with big box retail and online purchases. You are spot on with locally made products but both issues we have been discussing (at home production and small businesses) are part of the same circle of life. When one goes so does the other.

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  4. Apple should buy it, make it an apple store and give the current owners the keys and some stock options.

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  5. If this place is anything like the Pacific Northwest’s Mac Store chains, I can see why they’re going out of business. The Mac Store competes with the Apple store in most of their locations having competition like 1-2 miles away. But their employees seem to be much less excited to work there. They also strive really hard to sort of trick people into believing they ARE Apple rather than trying to create their own identity. I know margins are slim, but it seems like they opt for cheap employees rather than knowledgeable or friendly ones.

    I’m sure first tech is different, but I won’t be surprised to see The Mac Store go out of business soon as well.

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    • Yup way different! Its the reverse. First Tech employees get paid higher and having been working there longer some 25+ year careers there. Apple Store down the street is full of teens and newbs.

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    • Lol, The Mac Store is a odd place. I go in there every once in a while to see if they have any unique accessories or decent prices on hard drives and the like. I think I’ve only bought something from them on like 10% of my visits.

      I did buy my first iPod Nano there way back in the day before the iPhone came out.

      The last thing I was thinking about buy there was the new Mac Pro, as they actually had one in stock.. I just couldn’t justify it.

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  6. Joe Belkin says:

    Of course, the natural inclination is that we support a small business and in this case, a great small business but the fact is that in the US, companies get replaced for good reasons and bad that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the way the business is run. The most simple fact is that buying computers today is different than it was 37 years ago – ten it was a mysterious box of components that could break down at any time – and we needed a serious place to decipher if it’s software or hardware – while now, we can pretty much grab off the shelf and toss it into a cart. Or software, we don’t need to a place to test it out as it was a $200 purchase (not adjusted for inflation) – now, we can dowload a demo and most software costs around $20 … hell, we don’t even need expendables anymore like floppies, CD-R’s or in many cases, you don’t even need to buy a hard drive anymore so the business is different …

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