Tuesday, November 10, 2009

St. Louis Geeks Rejoice! We have a Micro Center!

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 8:57 AM

The last CompUSA went out of business in 2007 and left a giant gaping hole for a decent computer store in the St. Louis retail market.

Some might argue that the hole existed even when CompUSA was still in business since we've never been lucky enough to have a really good computer store. You know, the kind of place where you could pick from a nice selection of parts to build your own computer or get that odd gadget that a place like Best Buy or Office Max just isn't going to carry.

Sure you can always get stuff like that on the Internet, but often it's nice to be able to actually handle a product before you buy it and there is something about the instant gratification of being able to buy something and have it the same day. 

Micro Center occupies the space left by a former furniture store in Brentwood
  • Micro Center occupies the space left by a former furniture store in Brentwood
Well that hole has now been filled by a company called Micro Center, which opened a store in Brentwood yesterday. Micro Center is a privately held, Ohio-based company that has about twenty U.S. locations. And unlike stores like the former CompUSA, Micro Center is not only well stocked but they sell stuff cheap, as cheap and often cheaper than a lot of the deals you can find on the Internet. The closest big, brand-name store similar to a Micro Center is Fry's or if Tiger Direct had a physical retail location. ​

click to enlarge Get your geek on with these cases for your DIY computer.
  • Get your geek on with these cases for your DIY computer.
​Micro Center is fairly large, about the size of a typical big box store, and packed to the rafters with product. They have borrowed some ideas from the Apple store, with things like a "Knowledge Bar" where you can get tech support. But don't expect it to look as cool as the Apple store with fancy glass surfaces and clean uncluttered retail displays. No, Micro Center has more of a DIY -- maybe even slightly dated -- retail aesthetic, as in lots of brown wood tones and beige. So, if you always felt like you weren't cool enough to visit an Apple store, you'll feel right at home in Micro Center. 

Don't look for Micro Center to have a big grand opening or anything. I spoke to the general manager, David S. (oddly his business card didn't actually have a last name on it), and he said they don't really do big grand openings. He said they were doing a soft opening this week with plans to do some bigger promotions later in the month when the Christmas shopping season officially begins. No doubt, they rely on word of mouth to be the biggest draw.

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