CEDAR RAPIDS — The first Apple Authorized Campus Store at an Iowa community college opened Monday after months of preparation.
Eagle Tech is located across the hall from the Kirkwood Community College Bookstore in Benton Hall. The store, first announced in April, will be one of only three in Iowa and one of five community colleges in the nation.
Julie Copeland, director of retail operations at Kirkwood, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, said the store will sell everything that an Apple retail store offers except iPhones.
“The reason that Apple is here is to support Kirkwood students, staff and faculty,” Copeland said. “We have more of a captured market that we can sell to than a retail store. We can’t sell Apple products to anyone except Kirkwood students, staff and faculty.
“We have a full-time technician who is Apple-certified as well as certified to repair PC brands such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Anyone in our Corridor community is welcome to use that service.”
Kirkwood spent about $700,000 on renovations for Eagle Tech. Copeland said the seed for an Apple campus store was sown when the college was looking at what to do with space that formerly housed a convenience store.
“About 18 months ago, we did some remodeling of the food service area in Iowa Hall,” Copeland said. “Some of the components within the store, like a Starbucks, moved up to food service. We knew we were going to have about 1,800-square-feet of space available, so we began looking at what we could do with it that would support our students and education.”
Copeland said convincing Apple to authorize a campus store was a daunting task, given the Cupertino, Calif., technology giant’s preference for college and university locations.
“Apple is very selective about who it will authorize as a reseller,” she said. “They look at college and universities has having students locked in for four years, whereas community colleges typically have students who commute to the campus and are very diverse in terms of their student population.”