Norris to get Apple Store in bookstore this quarter

Alexandra Finkel

If Lisa Silverman’s MacBook Pro breaks next month, she won’t have to take the bus to the Apple Store at Old Orchard or the intercampus shuttle down to Michigan Avenue. Instead, the Medill freshman can get it fixed while picking up textbooks for her classes next quarter at the Norris Center Bookstore.

An Apple Store will open in Norris by the end of Winter Quarter, said Charles Depondt, assistant manager at the bookstore.

Negotiations to bring an Apple Store to campus began last summer, Depondt said.

“We hoped to open it in the fall and then at the beginning of Winter Quarter,” he said. “When we realized that wasn’t going to happen, we postponed it to this March.”

The store will replace the technology center on the west side of the bookstore. It will carry all Apple products except iPhones and will be staffed by an Apple employee. Northwestern students, faculty and staff will be able to purchase discounted products and receive technical support, including simple repair services, Depondt said.

As of Monday, NU was waiting for Apple to assign the Norris location a store number, he said. Once that is in place, they will order the materials and open in early March. Bookstore employees have already gone through training and the Apple employee will start next Monday.

“It’s really going to happen,” Depondt said. “I can’t imagine anything else happening to postpone it further.”

NU has high expectations for the new Apple Store, he said.

“We have a high percentage of Apple users compared to students at other universities so I think it will do really well,” he said. “Plus, other Chicago Apple Stores at colleges have proven to be very profitable.”

The University of Illinois at Chicago bookstore has been an official Apple retailer for 10 years but only began selling computers three or four years ago, said Hiba Sweiss, a representative for the UIC bookstore.

“We sell about three to four machines per week during the off-season compared to 200 machines during our fall rush period,” she said. “I’m sure the Northwestern location will be just as successful because Apple’s target buyers are college students.”

Although the new location will be convenient, Silverman said she doesn’t think the store will be that popular among NU students.

“I will definitely use it for repairs, but at the same time, I can’t imagine it being very profitable,” she said. “Students generally get their laptops before college, and I don’t know anyone who would just buy a computer in the middle of the year.”

Weinberg freshman Mikhail Attaar said he would also not purchase from the store.

“Even though I have all Apple products, I probably wouldn’t use the store,” he said. “I could buy the same thing online without the 10 percent Illinois sales tax.”

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