The store will host sales in November and launch an Apple repair service in the spring.
By William A Peters
The new Tech Store at this college offers students discounts, technology workshops and an Innovation Gallery where visitors can demo 3D printers, virtual reality gear and other cutting-edge technology.
The store sits next to the Duran Welcome Center on North Main and West Park avenues.
It opened at the beginning of this semester. To purchase the laptops, computers, iMacs, Macbooks and iPads, buyers must be an Alamo Colleges student or faculty member, which they verify on site by checking enrollment status on the computer. Accessories such as headphones and phone chargers can be purchased by anyone.
It is Apple certified, which means the store can offer student discounts on the Apple computer products. This can add up to a $20 to $200 savings depending on the cost of the product.
Ana Ortega, manager of the Tech Store, said, “Not only is it convenient for them, we’re here to help the students, to help the faculty. We are more of a service. We aren’t here to make a profit; we are here to help the students.”
The store offers educational pricing on the laptops, computers and Mac products. It does not carry iPhones because they are not considered an educational product.
A popular item is the 13-inch MacBook Air because it is “lightweight (and) the price is just right being an Apple product,” Ortega said. The MacBook Air 13 normally retails for $999.99 but is available for $949 at the tech store.
Special ordering of Dell and HP computers and laptops is possible if students don’t find what they are looking for. Students should tell the staff what specs they are looking for and the employees will get back to them with a quote as soon as possible. Shipping to the store for pickup is free and estimated to take less than five days.
The store also offers technology workshops such as Skype for Business, Google Drive Basics and iMovie, which are all open to the public. Pre-registration is required to attend. To register, go to sactechstore.org, click the training tab, then select the date and workshop.
Renewable energies sophomore Gerardo Mauricio Garcia, who lives in the Tobin Lofts, said the store is “amazing,” while demoing the HP Virtual Reality with zSpace, which makes use of 3-D glasses and a stylus with feedback, allowing students to manipulate objects on a 3-D plane. It was the first time he had hands-on experience with such technology.
“Only in videos, like YouTube, have I seen something like this,” he said.
The Virtual Reality with zSpace is part of the Innovation Gallery, a way for students to see and experience new technology.
The gallery also includes Oculus Rift, 3D printers and a holographic keyboard. The current displays will be available until August 2017.
In the spring semester the Tech Store is expected to open the Tech Rangers, a repair service for Apple products and computers at a competitive rate.
“We are going to try and get the best price point for our students here,” Ortega said.
The Tech Store will be conducting a savings event Nov. 1-23. Older-generation iPad Minis 2 and 4 will be $20 off while supplies last for students.
There will be a faculty and staff appreciation event Nov. 18 for Black Friday. The iPad Pro 32GB will be discounted from $599 to $533 and the MacBook Air 13 128 GB from $999 to $873. Pre-orders are available for the holidays if placed by Nov. 10.
The Tech Store is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed weekends.
For more information, the Tech Store can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-486-0942.