Elissa Daly and Dave Sessions opened the Mac Ranch on Eighth Street last month. Sessions said the Mac Ranch is growing despite the shrinking economy.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Elissa Daly and Dave Sessions opened the Mac Ranch on Eighth Street last month. Sessions said the Mac Ranch is growing despite the shrinking economy.

Mac Ranch offers computer classes, gadgets in new store

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The Mac Ranch carries a full line of Apple products.

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Mac Ranch technicians Chris Dickson, right, and David MacMaster work on a machine.

Mac-happy

Mac Ranch owners Elissa Daly and Dave Sessions shared their lists of personal Apple products:

- Daly

MacBook Pro

MacBook Air

iPod classic

iPhone

- Sessions

iPhone

iPod touch

iPod classic

iPod original

MacBook Pro

Mac mini

PowerBook G4

Several iMacs

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.

— 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.

Comments

Amy Harris 5 years, 3 months ago

I would think that Mac Ranch would try to develop loyalty from people who have not yet purchased through them, instead of penalizing those who have Macs they bought elsewhere. Why charge someone a third more to take one of your classes just because he is not a current customer? The way to develop a strong customer base is to show everyone, not just people who have bought from you, how good you are at what you do. Offer them an incentive to come to your classes instead of alienating them from the start. I take my Apple computers to Northwest Data, because they charge the same prices to everyone regardless of where they bought their machine. Capitalism at work...

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Jason Krueger 5 years, 3 months ago

Thanks a lot Mac ranch! I've only needed you folks twice (once at the old store and once here) but both times you were the best computer support folks I've ever dealt with. Northwest Data (in reference to the above post) may do a good job as well but, your quality & customer service guarantees I'll continue to do business with you. You've been professional, efficient, and accurate in the past. Most importantly, on both occasions, you did what you said you were going to do in the time frame you told me you would do it in; a rarity it seems in today's business practices. Price is not the only driving motivator. Quality is important too. Thanks Dave and Elissa!

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