Mad Macs hopes to open on Spring Street in March.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Village Beautiful will soon be able to buy the latest Apple products close to home.
Williamstown's first computer store is being opened by Mad Macs, the only Apple-authorized sales and service provider in Berkshire County.
Scott Kirchner, Mad Macs president and director of operations, said renovations to the location will be made in February and, if all goes very well, the store will open in March.
"When we open in a new location we are building our own brand. We would like our stores to be similar so that [customers] have a familiar experience in each store — each store is laid out in a similar way," Kirchner said in a telephone interview. "Apple is a national brand, but we try to give it a local feel.
"In Williamstown, 36 Spring St. will allow us to have a beautiful boutique-style showroom and a separate area where we can do repair and upgrade services as well as consultation."
But the electronics giant did have to give the OK for setting up shop, as a matter of course.
"You need to have that with every store," Kirchner said. "We are not an Apple franchise, but an independently owned business that has a contract with Apple. Once you are a specialist, Apple is very giving, encouraging you to grow in areas where they do not have any of their own stores."
The location at 36 Spring St. will be Mad Macs' second store. As in the first store on North Street in Pittsfield, it will carry Macintosh computers and a variety of other Apple products — but not the iPhone.
The company has negotiated a three-year lease with Williams College, owner of most of the property on the east side of Spring Street, including 36 Spring.
"Several people expressed interest in the space and the college selected Mad Macs," said Frederick Puddester, the college's vice president of finance and administration and treasurer. "We are very pleased to have them in Williamstown."
The former tenants, a pop-up store called the School for Style, vacated the space in December, in accordance with a short-term lease with the college. "We are looking for a new location for the School for Style," said Puddester, whose portfolio includes legal affairs and real estate for the college.
Anne Kennedy, co-owner of the School for Style, hopes to re-open in May.
The vintage interior will soon play host to Apple's high-tech products.
"We started a conversation about possibly putting the store in the former Ephporium space at the top of Spring Street (201 Spring)," Kennedy said.
Ephporium was a market that operated for eight years before closing last year.
Kirchner founded Mad Macs in 1998. "It was a hobby on the side then, but my hobby became my career and my career became my hobby," he said. "I became an authorized service provider and did that for 12 years. At that time, I decided to become an Apple specialist."
Kirchner and co-owner Daryl Corbett opened the first Mad Macs in Pittsfield 3 1/2 years ago.
"It's nice to help people and save them the trouble of having to travel outside of the area to get their Apple goods and services," said Kirchner. "It is our plan to expand in time to North County and Great Barrington."
Mad Macs plans to employee several people from the region in the Williamstown store. About 75 percent of its employees are from the local area, said Kirchner.
"We are a local business and are glad to support other local businesses," Kirchner said, adding that they will hire local tradespeople to make renovations to the Spring Street store.
Mad Macs is a member of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce Commerce "will support what is happening on Spring Street."
Kirchner pointed out, however, that "It is important to understand that in coming to Williamstown, we are looking forward to helping people from all over North County."