Among those who felt a disruptive impact from Apple’s arrival is Jack-Daniyel Strong, owner of Strong Solutions, a tech business he’s operated since 2009.
Until the Apple store opened downtown last September, Strong’s business, at 1718 E. Sprague, was the largest Spokane full-service retailer and consultant for users of Apple computers and devices.
Ten months later, the downtown store has sucked a lot of Strong’s retail business away. And Best Buy and Huppin's have also carved a share of the Apple retail pie.
Strong’s reaction, initiated this week, is refocusing operations less on retail, more on training, consulting and business services.
“They (the Apple store) are now focusing on the consumer and so we’ve decided to focus more on business customers,” he said.
The changes now include opening the store at 8 a.m., two hours earlier, and remaining closed on Saturdays.
That gives business customers a chance to get service or help earlier in the day. The downtown Apple store opens at 10 a.m.
“We’re now seeing two to three or four people each day coming to the store before 10,” he added.
He’s expanding the menu of business training options. Classes and training sessions on using Apple products or on integrating iPads or iPhones into a business environment will be offered on weekdays.
Strong said he learned the former plan, offering classes on weekends, didn’t appeal to businesses. “They said they didn’t want to send employees on their own time to a weekend session,” he said.
The enhanced training-session plan includes breakfast and lunch meetings.
Strong said he’ll still sell Apple products. He just won’t carry a large inventory. “And many of our sales are custom-ordered for a customer or a business,” he said.
His business and consulting services go beyond Apple to include customers who use Windows or Linux, as well.
Another key service, he noted, is securing company data and resources when employees are accessing company networks with personal devices.