Apple Store goes Web-based, will no longer stock inventory

Leslie Cusano

Erika Lhotsky and Julee Peterson, sophomore visual communication design majors, work at the Kent State Apple store. The store is now Web-based, meaning that although students will still be able to order Apple products online, the store will no longer carr

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State Apple Store will switch to a Web-based sales model, meaning it will no longer carry iPods, computers and other products on campus.

The store, located in Room 217 of the Art Building, is making the switch immediately, said Tom Mahon, computer systems coordinator for the School of Art and Visual Communication Design.

“All that means is not having inventory on campus,” Mahon said. “Now, the products will come directly to you from Apple.”

He said starting May 1, the store will become the Apple On-Campus Demo Store. The store’s location, sales staff and product literature will all stay the same.

“The process began last fall when Apple did restructuring of the Apple On-Campus program,” Mahon said. “When Apple ended the program last year, it had universities re-apply.”

Mahon said that under the new guidelines, Apple wanted to have the store in a more central location, such as the Student Center, Risman Plaza or the University Library.

“We weren’t getting a huge cut,” he said. “It just didn’t make fiscal sense to have it.”

The Apple Store, which opened in 1997, is jointly sponsored by the Schools of Art and Visual Communication Design. Mahon said the schools receive 3 percent of every Web sale the store makes through its site.

Mahon said students will still receive educational discounts as long as they purchase products through the store’s Web site, Students will also still receive a free iPod and printer with purchase of a computer as part of the Back to School special.

“There are pluses and minuses to the new program,” Mahon said. “There’s no more instant gratification, but Apple has free shipping and the wait wouldn’t be too long.”

Julee Peterson, sophomore visual communication design major and Erika Lhotsky, sophomore visual communication design and photo-illustration major, work at the Apple Store.

“I’m excited about (the changes),” Lhotsky said. “Half the people that come in need help with their computers. Where are they going to go if we leave? We don’t want to leave people with unanswered questions.”

Peterson said the new system will be even more convenient.

“We can always direct people to the Web site,” she said. “Everything is still going to be the same price.”

Mahon said the store earned about $2 million in Web sales last year and he expects that number to rise under the new system.

“Everybody wins,” Mahon said. “The students get a break on the price, they get help for their machines on campus, the school gets money. Everybody is happy at the end of the day.”

Contact School of Art and visual communication design reporter Leslie Cusano at [email protected].