Mad Macs heads for Allendale

PITTSFIELD — A popular Berkshire County computer store is planning to move out of downtown Pittsfield, but not from the city entirely.

Mad Macs, the Berkshires' only authorized retail outlet for Apple products and accessories, is planning to move its North Street store to the Allendale Shopping Center on Cheshire Road by this spring, co-owner Scott Kirchner said.

Kirchner and partner Daryl Corbett moved Mad Macs to North Street from its former location on East Housatonic Street in May 2011. Mad Macs' first store was on Tyler Street. The firm, founded in 1998, officially became an authorized re-seller of Apple products in April 2012, and opened a second store in Williamstown two years later.

In a telephone interview, Kirchner said moving to the Allendale Shopping Center will enable Mad Macs to grow. The 3,300-square-foot space at Allendale, formerly occupied by the Optical Center, is three times the size of Mad Macs' North Street store.

"We weren't necessarily on the hunt to find a different place," Kirchner said. "But over the last couple of years, we've slowly been looking around and the opportunity presented itself with the shopping center. I didn't think we'd go there. It took a couple of years to negotiate with them. It finally got to a place where it made sense for both of us.

"A lot of folks think we're abandoning downtown Pittsfield for the parking and other reasons, but we're really not," Kirchner said. "It's an opportunity to grow our business and to have more space. It was a difficult decision to make. We have a lot of customers down here."

A picture of a sign announcing the move that had been placed on a window at Mad Macs was posted online recently, and drew a few negative responses from social media users.

"One or two people made negative comments," said Kirchner, who serves as vice president of administration for the Downtown Pittsfield Inc. merchant's group. "But when you look at the vast majority of comments on the blog, it was overwhelmingly positive about our move."

During the past two years, Mad Macs has been working to diversify its offerings by expanding into PC sales and service, boardroom installations, expanded network services, managed services for small businesses and AV installation services. Mad Macs will have more room to broaden those capabilities in Allendale.

"Just the physical space itself allows us to do a couple of things," Kirchner said. "Although we're focusing more on service capabilities, we do need more space to expand our service."

"As a byproduct of that move, we're hoping to see an increase in retail traffic," he added

"I think one of the high points of this is, we were still able to stay in Pittsfield," he said. "We've started to expand towards Albany, and we need a space to do that. This gives us the space to do that."

The lease with the owners of the Allendale Shopping Center gives Mad Macs the ability to stay at the retail complex for up to 10 years, according to Kirchner.

"We're going to be there for awhile," he said.

Mad Macs plans to begin renovating its new space at Allendale next month. A grand opening at the new location will take place in March or April.

"We're still finalizing the plan for the look and feel of the store and how we're going to arrange things," Kirchner said.


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