Mac Ranch offers computer classes, gadgets in new store
September 6, 2009
Mac Ranch owners Elissa Daly and Dave Sessions shared their lists of personal Apple products:
If you go
The Mac Ranch is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. It is at 117 Eighth St. Call 879-1270.
Steamboat Springs — That new-shop smell still drifts through the Mac Ranch in downtown Steamboat Springs.
Store partners Elissa Daly and Dave Sessions opened on Eighth Street last month, moving from a tucked-away Yampa Street store to the former location of Sweet Potato Lingerie. They’re all settled in and ready to go and already have plans to offer Mac classes this month.
“This store is really about all the people in Steamboat and the surrounding area who love Macs,” Daly said.
Sessions will teach four, four-week classes, starting Sept. 27: introduction to Macs, iLife applications, advanced Mac techniques and digital imaging. Classes cost $200, or $150 for people who bought their Macs from the Ranch.
“It’ll evolve,” Sessions said. “We’re starting with some pretty general ones, but we’ll see what people want. : I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I love teaching.”
Daly and Sessions found their Apple passion through the arts. Daly worked in music production, and Sessions worked in newspaper photography and lithography. Macs have traditionally been the preferred computers for artists, both said. But they’re attracting more business users and professionals.
Macs use the Unix operating system rather than Windows. Fewer viruses target that system. Each program and application is separate in a Mac, Sessions said. That means if a virus enters your e-mail, it’s contained in your e-mail, he said. He started working as a Mac technician in 2001.
“To me, using a Mac is like sitting down with a friend, and using a PC is like sitting down with an enemy,” Sessions said. “It fights back.”
iTouch, no iPhone
The partners signed the lease in May and spent three months building the new Mac Ranch. They have 2,000 square feet of space and use 1,000 of it, Sessions said. That compares with the 500 square feet of their previous store.
“This is more accessible and roomy, which makes it perfect for us,” he said.
They previously worked near 11th and Yampa streets, above Kent Eriksen’s bicycles. The shop has bamboo floors and furniture from David Chase Rugs & Furniture. Light streams in from the street, and people wander through with Apple products or just to peek around.
The Mac Ranch is a licensed reseller of Apple products, not a corporate store. The shop can’t sell you an iPhone, either: You’d have to get one activated in Denver through AT&T.
They offer computers, accessories, software and Apple TV. Popular products include iPods, iMacs and the MacBook Pro, Daly said.
“The iPod touch is the iPhone minus the phone capabilities,” she said. “We sell quite a few of these here because people have Verizon and want to keep their phone but want to have Internet capabilities.”
Macs traditionally are pricier than their personal computer counterparts. But Apple is pulling down prices, Daly said. A MacBook Pro once sold for $3,500, she said, and the model now starts at about $1,200. MacBooks start at about $1,000.
The Mac Ranch’s customer database contains about 1,500 people. Some second-home owners take their computers on vacation to get them fixed at the Ranch, Sessions said. Some drive from Walden, Eagle County, Meeker or even Grand Junction.
Other technicians service Macs in the area, he said, but the Mac Ranch’s bricks-and-mortar location offers an advantage.
“We’re here, and we’re stable, so they have someplace to come,” Sessions said.
They employ four certified technicians and aim to fix customers’ computers within 24 hours.
Dave Glantz owns Computer Cures, where he repairs PCs. He sends Mac users to the Mac Ranch for service.
“I have had nothing but good responses from the people I’ve sent over there,” Glantz said. “And I kind of wish I could have had a shop downtown. It’s pretty cool that they’ve gotten to open it.”
Sessions said the Mac Ranch is growing despite the shrinking economy, he said, making this the perfect time to expand. Daly agreed.
“It’s important to stimulate the economy during a recession instead of shying away from risk,” she said.
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