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Office Hours

Posts tagged: Apple Store

Strong Solutions cutting its retail emphasis, expands its business offerings

Strong Solutions - Apple Mac Sales & ServiceNot everyone in Spokane rejoiced when the Apple retail store came to Spokane last year.

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.

Visits to Apple retail stores dwarf Disneyland traffic

It’s been all of two weeks since we last went lady-gaga about Apple opening a retail store in downtown Spokane. So it’s time to once again bow down to the Lord of Cupertino.

During the company’s recent earnings call, Steve Jobs noted that retail store foot traffic, at its 317 U.S. locations, drew more than 74.5 million visitors. A recent note on this, at theAtlantic.com, pointed out that many of those visis may not have led to purchases. The short item, with a graphic, said Apple stores have become something like the tech version of mall-hopping.

Here’s the graphic and we’ll have to trust the numbers compiled in producing it.

 

Huppin’s opens doors and starts selling Apple products in Spokane

The new North Division Huppin’s store formally opens tomorrow, Oct. 20, at 10 a.m.

The newly remodeled location, at 8016 N. Division, will feature plenty of HDTVs, cameras, audio gear, camcorders, headphones and home theater systems.

It will also start selling Apple products. Huppin’s President Murray Huppin worked for most of the past year to sign a reseller deal that allows his company to sell just about everything Apple makes except iPads and iPhones.

Apple opened its own retail store in downtown Spokane in September. Huppin said that had no effect on his effort to become an Apple reseller.  Apple already has two area retail resellers – Best Buy, and Strong Solutions — both of which sell a full line of Apple computers, iPhones and iPads.

Huppin’s two stores will both sell Apple products. However its nationwide online service, OneCall, will not, Huppin said.

The deal came about as Huppin’s wanted to bring to its customers the smart and nifty devices that have made Apple the most valuable tech company in the world. Huppin said he believes Apple forged the deal in part because Huppin’s customers see the Spokane home-grown company as an innovator and clear leader in consumer electronics retailing.

Inside the new Spokane Apple retail store

Roughly 450 to 550 people were waiting to get into the new Spokane Apple retail store Saturday, as doors opened at 10 a.m.

Here are a few photos and one embedded video to show what the store looks like.

Disclaimer: The Cowles Co. runs River Park Square, which is the landlord for this store. Knowing full well people may accuse us of overdoing coverage of this event, we’ll stand accused. Since our job is to acknowledge and evaluate events or circumstances worth community attention, we decided one more post on the opening was warranted.

Nice looking at you

Just in case you wonder what the front of the new Apple retail store in Spokane looks like.

Doors open at 10 a.m. Saturday. And we note, there are strong supporters here of Strong Solutions, a Spokane Apple retailer. That group is holding a little counter-celebration and campout at that company’s store, on East Sprague, at the same time. 

Disclaimer: River Park Square is the landlord for the new Apple retail store. Cowles Co., which runs this newspaper, also owns that downtown mall.

Mike Brede wins Apple opening contest

Fifteen people made guesses in our recent Office Hours contest to guess the opening date and time of the Spokane Apple store.

Mike Brede (the first of those 15) got it right:  it’s 10 a.m. this Saturday. Three others said Saturday but none said 10 a.m.  One other guess said 10 a.m. one week earlier, Sept. 18.

That person, and Brede, apparently knew the Apple rule: always open a new store at 10 a.m. on a Saturday. The logical choices were either Sept. 18, 25 or one week later, on Oct. 2.

Brede gets a $10 coffee card from Spokane coffee company Atticus.

What to expect waiting in line for Saturday’s Spokane Apple store opening

SMALL ADDENDUM: This same post earlier said the city’s first year take of $175,000 would be a big help to cash-strapped coffers. That of course is a fairly loose guess and not based on any Apple-provided sales estimates. And, on further review, that money will help the city but not that much. A recent SR story said the city has a $12 million budget hole to fill.

Of course we’re still excited about the opening of Spokane’s first Apple retail store this Saturday, at 10 a.m.

Not because of the 1,000 free T-shirts. We’re hoping the Apple cash registers start popping genormous numbers and the end result will be a hefty injection of new state sales tax dollars into city, and county, coffers.

A city official said the Spokane store, on a likely projection, will generate $175,000 per year in sales tax revenue for the city. Considering how strapped the city is, that’s a big help.

We’re adding this link to a YouTube video of last weekend’s Apple store opening in Turin, Italy. About 700 people were in line when it opened.

Points to note:  the Apple store staff go out of their way to be overly helpful, especially on Day One.

And, of those in line, easily 85 percent are males. So, be forewarned if you get in the queue before Saturday’s 10 a.m. opening. Be sure to have your conversational gambits all-guy, all the time. The checklist: sports, “Battlestar Galactica,” “Community,” and the reasons why you don’t much care for the Kindle… You might also comment about how it’s nice to see the ladies come out for the event, as well.

Spokane Apple store to open doors on Saturday

It’s not that Apple HAS to tell anyone when it’s going to open a new store. It’s their store, and they can keep their news under a blanket as long as they want.

Yesterday, Apple finally announced its Spokane store — the first in these parts — will open on Saturday, in downtown Spokane. For a project costing more than $2 million, one has to say they did a fairly good job of hiding the actual start day from the rest of us.

Up to this week Apple Inc. has never said it will open a store in Spokane, even though the company’s distinctive retail space has been taking shape downtown for weeks.

That changed when Spokeswoman Amy Barney said the store, at 710 W. Main, will open at 10 a.m.

Apple began planning plans to build the store as far back as February, obtaining permits and arranging a lease for space in River Park Square. The downtown shopping mall is owned by  Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

This is Apple’s first retail store in the Spokane area. The nearest other stores are in Bellevue, Portland and Boise. When the Boise Apple store opened earlier this month, several hundred people waited in line, according to news reports.

The Spokane store will employ more than 70 people, Barney said. 

The store will also offer free weekly workshops and  training sessions to help customers learn how to use Apple products, she said.

John Dresel, president and CEO of Banner Retail Marketing, in Liberty Lake, said Apple’s decision to build a store in Spokane enhances the area’s retail landscape.

“It’s a great thing when a great brand like Apple comes in here,” Dresel said. “It raises the level of all retail boats in the community.”

“They keep it close to the chest, and then when you finally get to go inside their stores, they exceed customer expectations,” he said.

Win a coffee card by guessing the date Apple’s Spokane store opens

We’ll be offering a $10 coffee card to whoever can come CLOSEST to the correct date for the opening of the downtown Spokane Apple retail store.

This photo shows the front and part of the interior, shot on or about Sept. 13, on Main in downtown Spokane.   Officially, Apple Inc. has failed to acknowledge it’s building or opening this store.

So, some contest rules. One entry per person; family of employees of The Cowles Co. and all its subsidiaries are ineligible. And of course, employees or contractors doing work for Apple are also not eligible to win.

To win, correctly name the date the store will open. As a tiebreaker, also add the hour the store will open for its first customers. For multiple winners, Office Hours will randomly select the sole winner in a drawing.

To enter, submit your name and guess in the comments section below this post. Entries must be from valid registered users of Spokesman.com. YOU DO NOT need to leave your e-mail address in the comment area. Or you can e-mail submissions to Business@spokesman.com with the subject APPLE.

The front design of the new Spokane Apple retail store

We wonder when workers downtown at the new Apple store will install the stainless steel plate and laminated Apple logo to the front of the two-story building.

Until you see it, here are a few drawings from the city’s building permits that show the basic plan and roughly what it looks like. The front wall of the building will be about 34 feet high, to the roofline, and about 41 feet wide along the sidewalk. The doorway will be roughly 7 feet in height.

In a soon-to-be-posted second Apple retail update, we’ll post a short video of the work taking place there, at 710 W. Main in downtown Spokane.

Officially, Apple Inc. still hasn’t announced this is an Apple store.

 

Apples permits don’t say when its downtown Spokane store will open

We’d known for awhile that contractors were filing and obtaining permits needed before Apple Inc. moves into a new Apple Store in downtown Spokane.

We found the permits online and ran a story this afternoon. It’s here.

The managing architect for the $400,000 remodel is listed as Dimple Manghani of MBH Architects, based in Alameda Calif. MBH lists as its clients Apple, J Crew and Target.

The online permits filed on behalf of Apple in Spokane are at https://aca.spokanepermits.org/CitizenAccess.  To find them, use the address search box, with 710 W. Main.

Search for 710 W. Main, the former address of Eddie Bauer’s River Park Square Store, to see the listed permits. No opening date is listed anywhere, though we have city sources suggesting it won’t be until August or September.  Just in time for school.


 

Apple still not saying anything about Spokane retail store

Buy iPadOn Feb. 22 this year The Spokesman-Review reported that Apple Inc. was interested in launching — and hiring for — a Spokane downtown Apple Store.

The retail community got very excited, the Apple fan base got very enthusiastic.

But Apple’s spokespeople never would say when the store would come to town. A Craigslist ad said it would go into River Park Square, a downtown mall owned by The Cowles Co., the same company that owns The Spokesman-Review.

Recently, Apple Spokeswoman Amy Barney said the tech company has nothing new to add, other than what was earlier reported.

Efforts to get more information on whether the first plan has changed, and when any store would arrive, have not been successful.

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