The Journey of Micro Center
Micro Center, a reputable name in the technology retail world, commenced its operation in Columbus, Ohio in 1979. The establishment of the store was realized by two former Radio Shack employees, John Baker and Bill Bayne, who kick-started their dream with a $35,000 investment. Despite the modest 900 sq ft storefront located in the Lane Avenue Shopping Center in Upper Arlington, Ohio, they seized a great advantage of their location – the vicinity of Ohio State University and the renowned scientific think-tank, the Battelle Memorial Institute. This strategic placement served as a springboard for Micro Center as it provided access to a vast customer base and a reservoir of tech-savvy salespersons.
Micro Center’s Unique Business Model
To differentiate itself and streamline its services, Micro Center introduced the “18-minute pickup” service in 2009. This innovation allowed customers to order merchandise via their website and then pick it up from the store in just 18 minutes. Fast forward to January 2014, the company further expanded its footprint by planning to launch two new stores in Brooklyn and Queens, New York City.
As of 2021, Micro Center has flourished into 25 nationwide stores sprawled across 16 states, ranging from California, and Colorado to Virginia, with plans to open new stores in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Miami, Florida in 2023. This steady expansion only further solidifies the company’s presence in the tech retail market.
Inside the Micro Center Stores
Each Micro Center store, spanning up to 60,000 sq ft, houses an impressive inventory of approximately 36,000 products across 700 categories. This includes major name brands as well as Micro Center’s brands. Additionally, Micro Center prides itself as an approved seller of all Apple products and has hosted Apple departments in all its stores since 1982. The store further features “Build Your Own PC” departments, “Knowledge Bars” for service and support, and “Knowledge Theaters” for free classes on weekends, to enhance the customer experience.
Reputation and Recognition
Micro Center has carved out a unique niche for itself in the technology retail industry. It was the first retailer in the United States to sell the DJI Mavic Pro drone, demonstrating its commitment to pioneering tech trends. Further highlighting their industry impact, Micro Center CEO Rick Mershad acknowledged that the STEM movement is reshaping their product line to focus more on Arduino projects and Raspberry Pi. This direction necessitates more consultative selling to cater to customers’ innovative requirements.
Public Profile and Media Reception
Micro Center’s commitment to high-quality service and skilled salespeople is its hallmark, as pointed out by Joan Verdon of The Record. On a similar note, Doug Olenick of TWICE commended the well-trained sales staff of the store. Despite some criticisms over its promotional offers, such as a free solid-state drive, Micro Center continues to strive to meet the changing needs of its customer base.
Accolades and Awards
Over the years, Micro Center has received several recognitions and awards. It was ranked number 93 in the list of 100 hottest retailers in the US by the National Retail Federation in 2014. Furthermore, in 2015, the Dealerscope trade journal ranked it as the 18th largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States and Canada. Also noteworthy is the fact that Forbes magazine ranked it 195th among America’s largest private companies in 2016.
Micro Center stands as a testament to the power of innovation, dedication, and strategic growth in the technology retail industry. As it continues to expand its footprint while maintaining a strong commitment to customer service and cutting-edge technology, Micro Center remains a key player in shaping the future of tech retail.