Minneapolis Apple dealer FirstTech will close, pressured by discounting

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2014 - 9:40 AM

FirstTech, one of the first stores in the country to sell Apple products, is closing. Managers said the Minneapolis retailer had been pressured by discounting practices of larger stores. 2010 file photo.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, DML - Star Tribune

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After 37 years, Apple-only retailer FirstTech is closing, its profits squeezed by rampant discounting by far larger competitors.

FirstTech, at 2640 Hennepin Av. S., was a fixture in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood and the largest of only a handful of independent Apple stores left in the Twin Cities.

The store was founded in 1977, a year after Apple started in California and just as that company’s first home computer, the Apple II, went on sale. In recent years, FirstTech billed itself as the longest-serving Apple dealer.

The store will begin selling off its inventory at discounted prices Thursday, and will be out of business by the end of March, said Fred Evans, a senior manager who spent 25 years at the store.

“I found out yesterday,” Evans said Wednesday. “Honestly, I’m still in shock.”

FirstTech will lay off its 70 employees, some of them 25-year veterans, by the end of the month. About 15 of those employees were at a store that opened just six months ago in Rochester. That store closed Wednesday.

FirstTech’s chief creditor, GE Capital, stopped providing financing for the store’s inventory last week, Evans said.

“You can only sell so many computers at $100 below cost in order to get business,” said Evans, adding that the company had faced mounting losses for the past year.

The owners of FirstTech are Pete Paulsen, Harvey Zuckman and Rick Zuckman, all of the Twin Cities, and Arnie Zuckman of San Francisco.

FirstTech had diversified beyond computer sales to move into repairs, training and managed services that remotely monitored computers.

 

Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553

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