EconTracker News

Nov 10, 2010 12:55 AM by Dennis Bragg

New Apple store... sort of

That mysterious new store lurking in Missoula's Southgate Mall will handle Apple products. But it won't be the full-fledged Apple-store some had been expecting last spring.

Instead, Apple will be one of several electronics brands to be featured in the new ON store, which is the latest venture by Missoula-based Vann's.

The store's spartan, high-tech polished temporary front has been sparking speculation since it showed up in the mall's north-south wing earlier this year. At first, those rumors had the space pegged as a new Apple store. The company is well known for its flagship retail spaces, which don't exist in Montana. (ON Facebook photo)

But throughout the summer and into fall, Vann's has been gradually releasing more details of the upcoming store on Facebook and Twitter, now saying the store will have its grand opening on December 2nd.

Vann's CEO George Manlove recently told the industry website Dealerscope the ON store is the company's effort to expand its consumer electronics offerings. In past years, Vann's has combined those retail efforts with its traditional appliance business in its retail stores, as well as its leading online business. Vann's has been an Apple dealer for nearly 20-years.

Manlove told Dealerscope it's time for Vann's to "pursue those categories in a non-traditional model".

In addition to Apple products, the ON store will also feature Sony and other brands, with everything from computers and smart phones to flat panel TVs and other cutting edge electronic devices. It will also feature some very new retail features, from a concierge desk similar to Apple's own stores, an "Idea Corral" for social meet-ups for business and a Sony 3D interactive theater.

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