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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

Apple store reportedly slated for Franklin Park Mall site

Job openings put on Web site; November opening likely

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Customers enter an Apple Store  in Scottsdale, Ariz. An Apple Store location at Frank­lin Park Mall is planned some­time dur­ing the fourth quar­ter of 2014. Customers enter an Apple Store in Scottsdale, Ariz. An Apple Store location at Frank­lin Park Mall is planned some­time dur­ing the fourth quar­ter of 2014.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

Apple lovers and Steve Jobs fans rejoice.

After an earlier false start, Apple Inc.’s retail division plans to put one of its sleek Apple Stores in Toledo’s Franklin Park Mall sometime during the fourth quarter of 2014.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based computers and electronics company did not return calls on Wednesday to confirm its plans.

But the company has posted 15 job openings on its employment Web site for a store in Toledo. It also recently advertised for a full-time retail general manager for a store in Toledo via the job applicant Web site CareerBuilder.com.

Julie Sanderson, a spokesman for Franklin Park Mall, which is owned by Starwood Retail Properties, said the mall does not comment on negotiations with prospective retailers.

However, sources said that two years ago, when Franklin Park Mall was still owned by Westfield Inc., the mall was close to a deal with Apple but negotiations fell through.

Since then, Apple has continued to expand its retail footprint in Ohio and last month opened a new store in Dayton. That was Apple’s seventh Ohio store.

The closest Apple Store to Toledo is now in Ann Arbor.

Retailers at Franklin Park Mall said they have been told that an Apple Store will open in space adjacent to the Williams-Sonoma store and formerly occupied by Charlotte Russe, a women’s clothing store that recently relocated to the Macy’s wing of the mall.

Andy Dempster, owner-manager of the MacCafe store on Talmadge Road across from the mall, said a former colleague of his who works for Apple confirmed to him the company has committed to a store in Franklin Park Mall with a target opening date of late November to prepare for Black Friday sales. 

“He’s been keeping us informed,” Mr. Dempster said.

Mr. Dempster said he was told that the mall already has been told to move kiosks from in front of that presumed store space because Apple doesn’t want smaller retailers blocking its entrance.

Currently, Apple computers, iPads, and iPods were sold in Toledo only by authorized resellers like the MacCafe and Best Buy stores. The MacCafe does not sell iPhones.

However, an Apple Store sells all Apple products and operates a “Genius Bar,” which specializes in repairs, service, and general technical problems.

The stores — a mixture of glass, stainless steel, wood tables, and white decor — are highly sought by retail properties and offer customers the opportunity to test products, get expertise from Apple “technicians,” and experience the company’s aesthetically pleasing retail setting.

In 2011, the chain ranked first among U.S. retailers in sales per unit area at $3,085 per square foot, twice that of the No. 2 retailer, Tiffany & Co.

“Obviously, this is not going to help my business,” Mr. Dempster said. “It’s not the kind of thing you look forward to.

“The general trend is when they open, the [competing reseller] business goes down drastically. It comes back in six months usually, and there’s stuff they don’t want to do that they would pass off to us.”

But shortly after the Dayton store opened in early June, two Apple products resellers went out of business fairly quickly, Mr. Dempster said.

“Retail’s down across the board. Everybody’s facing competition from everywhere, and the Internet especially. A retailer has got to be more service-oriented if they want to survive,” he said.

Mr. Dempster said his store is locally owned, which helps, and it services Apple products whose warranties have expired, which Apple’s stores prefer not to do.

“With out-of-warranty repairs, we’ve got the advantage. And we do backing the machine up and other extra services. They don’t offer backup services,” he said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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