Mac1 adds three

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Canberra Apple reseller Mac1 has expanded into Queensland and doubled its store presence to six, buying three Brisbane shops from rival retailer Choice Connections.

Gary Green, managing director at Mac1, said the reseller launched its outlet in New Farm on 20 August as part of the purchase of three Choice Connections stores - in New Farm, Woolloongabba and Sunnybank - 'for less than $1 million' mid-May. 

The company has also separately agreed to take on eight Choice Connections staff, mainly in administration and sales roles, Green said.

'We felt that Brisbane was not as well served [for Apple products] particularly in the professional space and we believe that our style of customer-focused business will be successful,' he said. 'We're now a $20 million a year company and we're looking for growth.'

The company was keeping its ear to the ground for further expansion opportunities, Green added.

Mac1 previously had two stores in the ACT and one in Newcastle but no Queensland presence. Two other 'major' Apple resellers - NextByte and Infinite Systems - operated in Brisbane, he said.

'Infinite Systems has professional and higher education status, NextByte has higher education and AppleCentre status, but we have all three.'

The New Farm store was in 'prime retail space' near James Street outlets for hi-fi specialists Bose and Bang & Olufsen, according to Green. NextByte, meanwhile, had recently moved its central Brisbane store more than two kilometres away into Brisbane's CBD.

'We have been working very closely with Apple to build a very modern showroom,' he said.

Green said the imminent release of the G5 with 64-bit processing was expected to drive sales in the short term.

'Once again Apple takes the lead - nobody else has this,' he claimed. 'Orders are going exceptionally well. We have had 75 orders for the G5 so far and we haven't even got a demo box.'

Green said most orders were from professional or higher-education customers, for the low and high-end G5s. 'The middle-range box comes third,' he said.

Supplies of Apple's iPod digital music players have been erratic this year, but Green said Mac1 had suffered few problems sourcing the popular product.

'I think we were a little intuitive, because we ordered significant stocks early on so we have had good stocks for quite some time,' he said.

Green also predicted good uptake of the iSight videoconferencing camera gear, which had proved useful in providing technical support on demand to customers.

'We had a customer with a high-end Unix problem, and we have a highly qualified Unix person in Canberra at the Australian National University branch, so we called him up and he came and spoke to the customer [using iSight], solving the problem from 1,200 kilometres away,' he said.

The former Choice Connections business was believed to be re-focusing on Optus mobility products, Green said.



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