The Low Lying Fruit
“Apple stores are really there to grab the low-lying fruit,” says Everett Katzen, the sole proprietor of Springboard Media, an Apple products retailer in Philadelphia. The ten-year-old computer store is in the enviable position of having a fiercely loyal customer base, not only to the Apple brand it carries but also to the store itself. With sales that have increased 15 percent annually over the last six years and Mac OS launch parties that attract over 200 attendees on a Friday night, Springboard is more than just an urban electronics store. It’s a place to be.
At the front of the store, a cashier/receptionist desk welcomes customers, surrounded by Retro Atari arcade games, like Space Invaders and Centipede, decreeing the store’s cool factor. The customer passes by software, paper supplies and a selection of laptop bags before they hit the mother lode of the latest Apple computers, cinema displays and other multimedia electronics. In the back is the tech service counter, which compactly occupies a corner of the retail space.
Katzen started his business in his mother’s house, but Springboard grew quickly enough that, by 1999, he procured the retail space on Philadelphia’s main shopping thoroughfare. He won’t work on PCs, even though Macs only have three percent of the market share. Why did he choose such a niche market? “We do what we do extremely well. It’s easier to do a good job when you’re very specialized.”