FirstTech, the first ever retailer that sold Apple computers has decided to shut down, after selling and servicing Apple products for over 37 years, according to Time. The company, which has been selling and servicing Apple products for close to four decades now cites rapid changes in the market and high competition for being the prime reasons for their downing shutters.
On FirstTech’s website, there is a prominent banner that reads “FirstTech is closing” below which the owners have stated their reasons for doing so. “Competition has increased and margins have decreased making it more and more difficult for us to provide the high level of service we are known for”, the text near the banner clarifies. FirstTech has already closed its Rochester Store but have stationed its staff at the Apache Mall for any customer pickups. They would remain till the end of this week. The Minneapolis store, also the first ever Apple retail store is set to shut down on March 29.
FirstTech’s tryst with Apple began in 1977 when the latter was a still a small startup. Back then, FirstTech was known as TEAM Electronics and used to sell radios, televisions, phonographs, audio and video, two-way radio, antenna systems and more. It began selling Apple computers the same year. By the mid 80’s, computers had started to dominate its sales. In 1985, the company was renamed FirstTech and by 1987, they had moved on to sell only computer and related accessories.
The story of how FirstTech became an Apple reseller too is legendary. Back then, Apple was so small a company, it didn’t even have its own paperwork to consummate a deal. What FirstTech did back then was to use one of its older contracts it had with another client, removed their name from it and added Apple’s name there. FirstTech survived through the turbulent 90’s – a time when Apple was nearly on the verge of being run down by competition. Things were much better in the 2000’s when Apple made a huge comeback with the return of Steve Jobs into the company.
Later though, thanks to stiff competition from new age retail stores and ironically Apple’s own snazzy Apple Stores, good old FirstTech started feeling the heat resulting in this shut down. The company had celebrated 35 years of being an Apple reseller back in 2012.
FirstTech currently has around 60 employees, all of whom were notified about the imminent shut down on Wednesday. The employees include Pete Paulsen who sold Apple’s first computer and then went on to become FirstTech’s General Manager and Co-Owner. Pete adds that the person who bought the first Apple computer also bought the first Lisa computer that the store sold and to date remains their loyal customer.
This poignant video by FirstTech makes for an interesting watch if you are in to Apple and FirstTech’s history.
Also, read this interesting report by Julio Ojeda-Zapata on TwinCities who has talked about interesting facts about the legendary FirstTech store and its history.
[Image via TwinCities]