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.
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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.”