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ARCHIVED  February 1, 1997

Micro Computer World broadens its scope

LONGMONT – From his office window in Longmont with a panoramic view of the Front Range, Randy Wallace reflects on his growing business, Micro Computer World, and his brand-new building. Wallace recently moved the headquarters of Micro Computer World from Greeley to Longmont because he wanted to be centrally located in Northern Colorado.
Wallace, his brother Rick and Burt Masterson, manager of the Greeley store, own the small chain, which competes with other, larger computer retailers and which is now venturing into new sideline businesses to give itself an edge.
The company opened its first store in Greeley in 1982 and opened a store in Longmont in 1983 to fill a void there, Wallace said.
“My wife read an article about how people in Longmont had to go to Boulder or Denver to buy a computer,” Wallace said. “I was a math and computer-education coordinator for the school district in Greeley at the time. So my partners and I decided to open a store in Longmont. We consider this a central location to our other stores.”
Micro Computer World opened a store in Fort Collins in 1985 and a store in Loveland in 1987. A fifth store, located in Boulder, was closed this year when Micro Computer World completed its new 12,000-square-foot building on North Main Street in Longmont and moved the company headquarters to the new building July 1.
The computer company occupies only about 4,000 square feet of the new building. There are four retail shops on the first level, not counting the computer shop, and space, which is still under construction, for three to 10 office spaces on the upper level.
Wallace and his partners own the 5,000-square-foot lot as well as the building, which will cost about $900,000 when completed, including the land.
“We have had a lot of people approach us to rent out the space here,” Wallace said. Three of the retail spaces have been rented.
Formerly, Micro Computer World was located just a few doors south of its current location on Main Street, in a building that was originally a pizza place.
“We converted it to a computer store, but we didn’t change anything,” Wallace said. “When we decided to move, we had three major food chains approach us, so we decided to rent it to Fazoli’s, but then we had no place to go. Last November, we started looking at this land site, and we decided to build a new building, but we changed our original plans from a 4,000-square-foot facility to a 12,000-foot building.”
Wallace and his partners still own their former building, which they now rent to Fazoli’s. The computer store sells most major name-brand computers, both new and used, including IBM, Apple, Toshiba, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Epson and NEC. The company also rents and services equipment.
“We have a rental division, so we recycle equipment all the time,” Wallace said, adding that they have a wide variety of equipment and price ranges from which to choose.
Usually, representatives will go into a business or office and help the customer evaluate what type of equipment and software they need for their business operation. Then they set up the system, load the software and service the system when it is needed. Systems may be customized to fit customer’s needs.
“We contact our manufacturers, and we can have it customized at the manufacturer and then have it shipped directly from the manufacturer to the customer,” Wallace said. “At least 60 percent of our sales are drop-shipped from Tempe, Ariz., to Chicago or other places. We often send out a team and have them analyze the customer’s needs and see how we would wire the place, what type of equipment they would need and how we would set up a system for them. We do a tremendous volume of business here, and we do business nationwide.”
The company has a total of 60 employees at the four stores, four service technicians at the Longmont store and five technicians at other locations.
Micro Computer World is entering into a new phase of business by becoming an Internet provider for most of the cities in Northern Colorado.
“We have just finished getting our T-1 lines installed by the phone company,” Wallace said.
“We will be competitive with America Online in price, and I don’t know of anyone who will be cheaper than our starting price. We will be providing Web sites and e-mail if people want to go through us.”
Wallace said he expects the monthly fee to be about $20 per month with unlimited time access.
Wallace said the company has a partnership with San Francisco-based LanMinds Corp. to provide Internet services for Micro Computer World.
“Recently, LanMinds was at an international conference in Japan, and they were interviewed on CNN (TV) on their Internet services,” Wallace said.
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LONGMONT – From his office window in Longmont with a panoramic view of the Front Range, Randy Wallace reflects on his growing business, Micro Computer World, and his brand-new building. Wallace recently moved the headquarters of Micro Computer World from Greeley to Longmont because he wanted to be centrally located in Northern Colorado.
Wallace, his brother Rick and Burt Masterson, manager of the Greeley store, own the small chain, which competes with other, larger computer retailers and which is now venturing into new sideline businesses to give itself an edge.
The company opened its first store in Greeley in 1982…

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