First-ever Apple retailer to shut doors in Uptown - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

First-ever Apple retailer to shut doors in Uptown

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It's the end of an era in Uptown Minneapolis. The very first Apple retailer is shutting its doors in Uptown.

FirstTech, an independent electronics business that has been operating for more than 70 years, announced Thursday that it will shut down for good on March 29.

On their website, the FirstTech expressed "deep regret" with their closing announcement.

"Over the last two years in particular, the market changes in our industry have been rapid and dramatic. Competition has increased and margins have decreased making it more and more difficult to run our business profitably and still provide the high level of service we are known for.

Sales at the Rochester location ceased on Wednesday. Staff will be on site at Apache Mall through the end of the week for customer pickups. The Minneapolis location will remain open for retail sales and customer pick-ups through Saturday, March 29."

The Zuckman brothers ran the business founded by their parents in the 1940s as a radio-repair business, the Pioneer Press reported. The store first sold Apple products in the 1970s.

It started as a radio parts store that even made deliveries, but evolved to electronics in 1977 before becoming the first-ever Apple dealer in the world.

"It had one little corner which was 6 foot by 6 foot -- one computer, one screen and demo program running on it," Keith Madonna recalled. "It was an Apple 2 and had serial number 289."

Through the years, Madonna has come to the store often and even became friends with the original owners.

"They kind of treated me like the family," he said. "It was a family business."

For Madonna, the closing hurts, and Fred Evans -- an 26-year employee of the store -- said a rapid change in the market is to blame. National resellers are selling Apple products at below cost, and FirstTech can't compete.

"It was either do a bad job or shut our doors, and we chose to go out on top," Evans said of the store where most customers are known on a first-name basis.

An Apple store opening just down the street on Hennepin Avenue couldn't have helped the Uptown store, and FirstTech's Rochester location also closed on Wednesday.

Gone, too, will be the service center, one of the few -- or only -- places that will fix outdated Apple products.

"We have people coming in with 20-year-old computers and going, 'Do you till have that part for that one?'" Evans said. "I'll stop and think about it. 'You know, it's in a drawer somewhere -- let me find it.'"

Although the end is bittersweet for many, Madonna told Fox 9 News he will always have his memories -- and will always be known as the guy who bought the very first Apple computer at the very first Apple dealer in the world.

"I just feel like it's a loss," he said. "A death in the family -- because you like to think your family businesses or local companies will be there forever," he said.

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