Thursday, May 19, 2016



Tekserve, known as "New York's mom-and-pop Apple shop," has been around since 1987. Rumor has it, they won't be around much longer. (*See update from management below)

Reliable reader Simone reports that she heard from three different employees they are closing shop in August. They say they're hoping to relocate in Chelsea. But, of course, rents are sky-high in a city full of corporate chain stores.

When they opened 29 years ago, founded by three former engineers at public radio station WBAI, they filled their space with antique radios and stereoscopes, along with that old Coke machine that dispenses real glass bottles. They were quirky, homey, local. Back then, there were no shiny Apple Stores. Now there are--how many?

"What're you gonna do," said one employee to Simone. "It's part of Apple's business model to streamline things, cut out the middleman so they'll have complete control."

As a long-time regular at the shop, I'll be very sorry to see Tekserve close.

I go there to avoid the sleek, corporate "pod people" atmosphere of the Apple Store, to get humane and reliable service, and enjoy an ice-cold bottle of Coca-Cola while I wait--sometimes in a state of post-motherboard apocalypse trauma.

If Tekserve does find a new location and reopen, says Simone, "They will continue to do repairs but no more retail sales, since people are mainly purchasing online."

*UPDATE: CEO of Tekserve Jerry Gepner got in touch to fill us in on the details. He writes:

"I want to state clearly that Tekserve has no plans to close, but we will morph with the times.

Tekserve was founded to provide service and data recovery to the Apple community. We intend to preserve and in fact, to grow our service operation. We were the first to provide repairs for Apple users in New York and continue to pride ourselves on the quality of our service and data recovery teams and the trust that so many customers place in us every day. It is a trust we do not intend to breach. In addition, we have a growing business that sells Apple based solutions to small and mid sized businesses (SMB) in New York. Going forward, we will be focused more heavily in this area as well. At the end of the day we fully intend to continue selling and servicing Apple products and accessories.

We are indeed winding down our retail store operation. This is not due simply to major vendors squeezing margins for their resellers and channel partners, but more down to the changing face of retail in general. Over the past several years, consumer buying habits and options have changed, particularly with respect to consumer electronics. The small specialty retailer is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and Tekserve is no different in that respect.

We do have plans to relocate in the fall. You (correctly) point out that business rents in New York City are high and have been rising for the past several years. This presents a challenge to all small businesses, but we are confident that our repair service and SMB sales activities are excellent businesses and we intend to stay in Manhattan with both of them. Our hope is to stay in or near the Chelsea neighborhood that has been home to us for so many years, but it's too early to tell if that will be possible.

In summary, Tekserve will still be the best place for New Yorkers to buy a Mac, get their Macs fixed, get expert advice about Apple products and for small businesses - the very best place to get an Apple business solution that works right out of the box. Change is never easy, but evolution is necessary-- and in our case, the evolution is very much a 'back to the future' move--but one we are excited to make."

museum of Macs

 A little historic reading, from New York magazine, 1991:


Ericka Hamburg said...

i hope this is not true. they are indeed an alternative to Apple, although I dont have a problem with Apple stores. As a city, we need places that reflect individuals sensibilities, which Tekserve has always done. As a Mac user since 1985, I love being reminded of its evolution when I visit (and buy from) Tekserve. Woe is Us.

Scout said...

Good ol' Tekserve; they were always terrific, but I confess that I haven't visited in more than 15 years. I find the Genius Bar at the Apple Store always a delightful experience, the work there is generally covered (thus, free of cost) by the warranty, and I'm fascinated by the young generation of techies - they're so different than anyone I knew at that age.

Jackofwits said...

Went a few weeks ago to buy an iPhone only to be told TekServe doesn't sell iPhones any more.

UbuWeb said...

But the good news is that Mike's Tech Shop, right around the corner on 20th St. is still open and has actually acted as an indy force against the monster that Tekserv has become in the past decade. I stopped going to Tekserv when I found Mike's, always empty, super smart and much cheaper than Tekserv.

William Baldwin said...

It's not the rent. I believe they own the building. There is something not being said here

Martrese said...

Thanks for including the 1991 NY Magazine article. I do hope they're able to remain in the city for servicing.

Santos said...

I'm not happy to see them go but personally I stopped using them in the late 90s because of incredible rudeness on the part of some of their employees.

David Diroma said...

Noooooooo!My go-to spot for all the tech stuff that is just too odd to get from Apple. The last time I was there, it occurred to me that they were somewhat out of place in hip Chelsea.

SUJovian said...

They do not own the building.

David Shea said...

Frankly, the one time I needed their repair service, I tho't their attitude was piratical: I went in a day or so before my warranty expired, and they refused to give any warranty on their repairs, which meant that if they didn't solve the problem, I was shit out of luck from that point forward.

And incidentally, tho' they did strive mightily to fix the problem, they failed, but it's a kind of thing I can limp along with.

Also, it took them a dog's age to complete the repairs, which I attribute to the fact that I was under warranty, so I had to take a backseat to paying customers — even tho' I bought my last 2 Macs there and a shitload of peripherals as well.

On the other hand, I'm sure the Apple stores are just as bad: Apple has become a piratical corporation, which with Steve Jobs gone, will soon lose its lustre. I HAD to use Apple, because it's standard for my industry, but let's face it, Apple's VERY high-end products represent the gentrification side of the computer business.

Alan Aurmont said...

Everything comes to an end eventually.


Burt Reynolds said...

Original location? Slowest elevator in NYC history. LOL

Still use Tekserve - but can't imagine how hard it is to stay in biz.

John K said...

I've gone to Tekserv, Apple's stores, and now Mikes. For a long time for repairs and Apple items I only went to Tekserve, since it was closer than the original Spring St. Store, until Apple's 14th St. (and later Grand Central Station) store opened up and repaired my laptops swiftly, at no cost because of the warranty. Apple even replaced two of my laptops free of charge. I cannot put into words how amazed I was each time they did this. No hassle, no BS, just an admission that the problem was on their end (bad motherboard, etc.). With Apple peripheral hardware, I now go to Mike's. They're not cheap, but they do great work. They're even working on a damaged external drive of mine right now. I am happy to know that Tekserve isn't disappearing, but as with so much that's hypergentrification is causing in NYC, their forced move angers me. Watching the pre-hyper-chained, pre-sanitized, pre-endless glass-towers-for-the-super-rich NYC disappear before my eyes is upsetting. What's enraging is watching almost no one in a position of power doing anything to brake or slow these changes. All seem to have raised the white flag of surrender. What I want to know is: WHY?

liet said...

Post logic board* meltdown

David Shea said...

Hi, John, Neither you nor anyone else should believe that the powers that be have surrendered to hypergentrification. It's in fact something they want themselves: in brings in taxes and with those taxes, they buy votes — not in the crude way but by adding pgms that bring them votes.

vzabuser said...

Maybe its because Apple wouldn't allow them to sell iPhones anymore- not a nice move for their 25 year partner
so now they'll concentrate on service out of an office in Phase 2.
Service was always their strong point

Andrew Porter said...

I've bought a number of my Macs and now iMacs there over the decades, plus hard drives, scanners, and all sorts of other stuff. I will spread the link here to other Mac users I know here in NYC. Hope they find a new place; the current one is cavernous.
Then there's the old Coke machine in the place, and the walls of old Macintosh computers.

Andrew Porter said...

I wanted to add that I've bought several Macs here, plus other stuff, because I believe in supporting local businesses, and I don't begrudge NYC the need to collect sales taxes. I'm reading the other small minded comments here (by people using screen names, not their real names like I do) and find these are the usual "I can buy it cheaper on the Internet so screw this local business" form of comment.
I've still got my NYMUG (New York Mac Users Group) T-shirt, plus software I bought through the group, from the Bad Old Days when people would often ask me, "Why don't you ged rid of your Apple computer and buy a real (aka Windows) computer?" Pass.

OM said...

My friend Philip once said "TekServe is to computer repair what anal fissures are to proctologists".

robby1051 said...

Sad to see it go but I must admit i have been using Mikes Tech Shop on 20th btw 6th and 7th for a few years now due to the long wait times I had on repairs from Tekserve. Faster turn around and pretty responsive to email and questions.

kemimarie said...

To my knowledge, we haven't sold iPhones in almost a year.

phodographer said...

I have been a customer of TEKserve for 25 years, and got fed up with them when they kept hustling me and upselling me.

They tried to charge me $800 for a laptop repair. They did this to try to upsell me a new computer by saying it would be more cost-effective than repairing the current one. The Little Laptop Shop on Clinton Street repaired it for $250. I think there is a conflict of interest between sales and reoair, where they will always recommend what is more profitable for them at the expense of their customer. You're probably thinking what business wouldn't do that. Well a small local business is supposed to be more customer-oriented than a large corporation.

Another time they sold me an expensive printer when I was looking for a simple all-in-one. The inkjet printer skipped lines and made white horizontal stripes on everything I printed. They tried to refuse to take it back and said it was my fault for not knowing how to calibrate it correctly. Nice customer shaming you superior nerds! I made it clear that I wanted a simple printer to work out of the box without troublshooting. 3 employees surrounded me to try to show me how to calibrate it. After about 30 minutes of messing with it, it was still not working properly. They got angry. They gave me a refund but told me that I could never buy another printer from them again. Total idiots.

Another time they tried to charge me $100 to backup my computer on a DVD in addition to charging me another $500 for repair. I handed them my iPod and told them to feel free to back up the computer to my iPod. They said I had to pay $500 even though the computer was still under warrantee because they said it had liquid damage and they did not believe me when I said nothing had been spilled on it. They suggested that perhaps my roommate had spilled something on it and didn't tell me. As if. When I asked them for proof that it had liquid damage, because it's easy for them to open the computer up and take a photo or even just show me, they changed their minds and said they would cover it for free under warrantee.

Long story short they are super sheisty and treat their customers like idiots.

Lastly that store is pretty white washed. I went in there with a successful artist friend of mine, and he bought a computer in cash (Same hustle. They told him his current computer was so expensive to repair that he might as well just buy a new one.) It took two separate employees literally almost half an hour to count the money. They had to use a counterfeit bill checker pen on every single bill and they counted more slowly than my 90 year old grandmother while a security guard stood over us. They made some excuse about not being used to their customers paying cash. Most businesses have a bill counter. Really they just didn't believe that a person with tattoos wasn't paying with counterfeit drug money.

I do like the $0.05 Cokes though.

Ericka Hamburg said...

gee that all sounds lousy. not what ive experienced at all, but then they'll be gone by August so its maybe a moot point.

dean10003 said...

In July 2016 I went in for service on my laptop and was told they no longer serviced macs and gave me other business to go. I walked out.