Oak Park Apple store closing

Investor going cold on expansion partly to blame


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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Mac Specialist, an Apple-affiliated retailer at the corner of Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street, will be closing its doors at the end of June, according to owner Adam Karneboge.

The store's repair division at 805 Lake St. was responsible for all Apple computer warranty repair work within a 50-mile radius.

"As with most small businesses facing the decision, our reasons for closing are varied," Karneboge said in a written statement. "One factor that did not contribute to this decision was the Oak Park marketplace and all of our valued local customers. We felt welcomed from the very beginning, and the business was performing as expected until the end. We had hoped to spend many years serving the community, but for both business and personal reasons it was not meant to be."

Speaking to Wednesday Journal last week, Jim Solnes, co-owner of Scoville Square shopping center, said the business, which opened in October 2012, was profitable. The store, however, faced problems when an investor in the business went cold on plans to open a second location in Kalamazoo, Mich. in 2013, Solnes said, adding: "Unfortunately, the investor did not commit one way or the other."

Solnes thanks the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation for its attempt to find a new partner, but their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

The company occupies a 6,000-square-foot facility, which includes a 2,000-square-foot storefront, as well as a warranty repair division and a training facility. Solnes said Scoville Square did not invest or enter into a partnership with Mac Specialist, but the shopping center did provide "substantial dollars to the build out of the store."

Prior to Mac Specialist, the storefront was occupied by Baird & Warner Real Estate.

Email: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Former Advocate from Forest Park  

Posted: August 8th, 2014 8:25 AM

Former employee who dedicated 60-80 hrs per week to this company over nearly 10 yrs. Deeply saddened to see its fate. Should this ownership/mgmt. team have placed more importance on satisfying the loyal client base they were able to develop in Villa Park, River North and beyond, the ability to expand would not have hinged on an outside investment. Profitability in O.P. would have been easily maintained. This is a weak PR attempt to avoid admitting failure from top down.

Jamie Sloan from Oak Park  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 12:28 PM

I am very very sorry to see this company go. I just tried calling their number because they have ALWAYS, been extraordinarily helpful to me and once again I needed their help. All of the various employees who have helped since they opened have been courteous and professional. I have never left unsatisfied and I am really going to miss them. Come back!!!!!


Posted: June 25th, 2014 8:02 PM

This comes as no surprise to me. The frontline staff (which I believe the owner was on the floor at times) lacked customer service skills. Poor communication and condescending attitudes will not produce a thriving business. I don't wish bad on people, but I vowed to never deal with this place after two interactions. I fared better at Oakbrook Apple anyway.

Joan from Berman  

Posted: June 25th, 2014 6:43 PM

I ordered a Mac mini two weeks ago. It was not in stock so I was told it would come in in about three weeks. I inquired today and was told that there would be no Mac Mini and their attorney would be contacting me. WHAAAT?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 9:40 PM

Judith - If a retailer has attractive products and customers do not know about it, then they need advertising. Should the village help a retailer who is missing opportunities? Common sense says Yes. Can the village withdraw support that is routinely given to retailers to improve their performance? Yes, they can and Yes, they do!

Another OakParker from Oak Park  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 7:38 PM

Not surprised at all. Investor or not, this poorly run excuse for an Apple partner was mismanaged, misused, and misinformed about Apple products, services and customers. I'll gladly make the trip to the city or Oakbrook, just as I've done since my brief interactions with the fine folks at Mac Specialists...

Judith Alexander from Oak Park  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 3:20 PM

Very sorry to see them go. From the comments, it sounds like most folks didn't know that they'd help you with iPhone issues, too. I went in many times with iPhone questions and problems. They were always very courteous and helped me almost right away (had to wait for 5 minutes once), usually at no charge. I never had trouble parking. There's a lot a few doors to the west, where the US Bank drive-through is located. The OPEDC is not to blame for this store closing.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 12:45 PM

@ Oak Parker: Clear as a bell, sounding through a freshly open window.


Posted: June 23rd, 2014 12:30 PM

@Oak Parker: I think the winter hurt everyone and honestly, Im not sure what is going on elsewhere. I think the winter has been a factor driving marginal business out, now weather Oak Park's policies contributed to them being a marginal business is quite possible.

paul from oak park  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 12:16 PM

I used the Mac Specialists store a couple of times and was completely satisfied with the service, and was very happy I didn't have to drive to Oak Brook. But, yeah, any sort of fix it storie is going to have a tough time in an economy where people are more often going to replace rather than fix. Bricks and mortar retail is tough because it is so easy to shop online for things you used to have to drive and park and shop for.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 10:31 AM

Thanks OPOP - will give them a shot!

total retail tax  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 10:19 AM

once and for all I would love to see who, collectively, brings in the most in retail sales tax???? OP, RF, FP, B, C

Oak Parker  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 10:05 AM

OPOP, even though we had a tough winter, I think it's passing the buck to say that businesses here are failing because it was cold. There are plenty of businesses in other desirable suburbs that are not negatively affected to Oak Park's extent, and they had bad weather also. If there is 1 thing the village is good at, it's making excuses for their own bad decision making and lack of effective strategy. I don't care about excuses, I care about results.

Oak Parker  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 10:01 AM

OP, it's good to hear that from DOOPers. The only think Oak Park seems to positively achieve in is drawing like minded residents and home owners to the village who want diversity, schools etc. but that's not due to the government or planning, by the reputation built by it's past. Now people come here and realize how Oak Park is struggling to keep and attract businesses, deal with increasing educational problems, crime etc. We moved here based on the reputation, but I expected more.

Mike Oak Park   

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 9:50 AM

Why keep commenting "traffic and Parking" When ever I am over there I can find a parking spot on Lake Street just West of Oak Park ave. Maybe I am just lucky. I never went into this store I never had or wanted a Mac. Did it service real PC's also? Reminds me of the SNL skit on the Scotch Tape store! How about a good Mexican Restaurant?


Posted: June 23rd, 2014 9:41 AM

I'd like to give a shout out to FixThat4You for your repair needs. Awesome guys and fair prices.

CPA from Oak Park  

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 9:41 AM

This one reminds me of Cartridge World on Lake Street, other side of OP Avenue. It was a little too specialized. You have to do a heck of a lot of business to cover the overhead of doing business on the Avenue.


Posted: June 23rd, 2014 9:36 AM

I think what we are seeing now with retailers is the impact of the winter. Every business I've talked to got killed this past season.


Posted: June 23rd, 2014 4:55 AM

@ Oak Parker - thank you as I have been saying this for over a year. OP has lost its edge (mojo) across multiple dimension. a) Schools b) reputation c) culture/ race relations d) business development e) finances. Perhaps we basked in former glories rather than knowing we need to reinvent ourselves/improve. I askedmy parents who lived in OP 1968 -2010 and said OP has lost MOJO. Believe it or not it becase we care - if we did not we would be indifferent.

Oak Parker  

Posted: June 22nd, 2014 11:27 PM

Oak Park has been thinking small time. They hope for business scraps to fall in their laps by rejecting anything that doesn't fit their idea, but don't do anything to attract first class businesses that will draw people to the village. Oak Park is resting of past glories, but it's growth has stunted. Being as "progressive" and close to the city as it is, one would think that Oak Park is in an ideal position to take advantage, but I'm really disappointed in Anan and all he promised.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: June 22nd, 2014 10:28 PM

@ OP RES: You are probably correct. However, the RF location had ground level parking and a newer, modern empty store on one level. The MF building leaks, is old and is beyond repair according to posters years ago when Borders left. @ Lynn: Apple never considered the site, it was wistful OPers who wanted Apple their.

OP Resident #782 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 22nd, 2014 9:29 PM

@ Brian - no parking except for the five level parking garage immediately behind the old Borders that doesn't charge for the first hour, right?


Posted: June 22nd, 2014 9:15 PM

Apple was considering the space a few years back

OP Transplant  

Posted: June 22nd, 2014 2:36 PM

Lynn - I don't think your assertion that Apple wanted to open in the old Borders is remotely true. Had they wanted to, they'd be there.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: June 22nd, 2014 1:52 PM

@ Lynn: why would Apple want to open a store in Borders. an old building w/no parking when they could go RF across the street and get am almost new single level store w/free parking.


Posted: June 22nd, 2014 10:45 AM

Had this been a REAL Apple store it would have done better . This gave Apple a bad name and they should be informed about this. Apple wanted to open up at the old Borders location and that would have hit the jackpot.


Posted: June 22nd, 2014 3:49 AM

The way to frame out the role of OPDC is to enable businesses - not to run the business. They help get it here and develop a solid strategy. The analogy is like college degree - it opens doors but once open, its on you to perform.


Posted: June 22nd, 2014 3:46 AM

OP lacks a cohesive strategy for bus dev. that starts with leadership and capabilities. This problem is part of larger issue with OP losing its edge on many dimensions (schools, race relations) Anan has limited span of control - OP needs a kick as_ person as OPDC head (as with Berwyn). One off deals are not a strategy - also look at sugar beat, etc. Many questions - no strategy.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 22nd, 2014 12:15 AM

It interesting that there are posters who believe that the village government has no role in business selection and development for retail startups, but are all for government interaction with business for TIF developments. There are times when I think OP makes up policy as it goes along.

melissa from chicago  

Posted: June 21st, 2014 10:59 PM

This place had inept technicians, didn't get stuff fixed on time. Has nothing to do with developments, TIFs, village leadership. It was a crappy store, plain and simple.

OP Resident #782 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 21st, 2014 9:35 PM

I was never sold this store had long term potential, but lack of intelligent business development is killing us here. We've gained an e-cig store and lost a pseudo-Apple store, a great spice store, a boutique and a loved running store in recent months. Anan, you were elected for business acumen and the belief you would shake things up for the better. A better environment for small businesses? I'm not seeing it. Not at all.


Posted: June 21st, 2014 7:33 PM

Parking & Traffic Flow


Posted: June 21st, 2014 6:11 PM

We need to parse seperate issues. First issue is the store was not an Apple store - it was focused on repairs which is a challenge as technology cost drop so quickly its oftern cheaper to replace (called Moores law). Second OP is fickle with business (and people). If OP like you, you are golden but if not you are screwed. The other issues is Berwyn supremacy with regard to corp dev (and forest park). OP lacks a cohesive strategy - has crazy red tape etc. I tried to invest $850,000 in OP

Josh from Oak Park  

Posted: June 21st, 2014 4:19 PM

Seems like the lack of physical Apple product in store + shoddy customer service did this location. And Berwyn Millionaire is about as close to an oxymoron as you can get...

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 21st, 2014 3:10 PM

Does not say much for an OP TIF on the north side.


Posted: June 21st, 2014 12:56 PM

Yeah Berwyn in really booming...into ghetto. New places open but nothing that really creates revenue. And the shelf-life of many of the businesses is short (check out the "precious" Depot District). Look at the people who shop in Berwyn-many are low income and gang bangers. No thanks. Oak Park just has to re-evaluate and soon because seeing things like mattress stores pop up is NOT a good sign.


Posted: June 21st, 2014 10:46 AM

I was wondering when this would happen, just look at the yelp reviews and comments, the employees were rude and they never had anything in stock, same thing I experienced when I went in


Posted: June 21st, 2014 7:34 AM

Berwyn Millionaire' s taunt really aggravated me. But he has a point. Oak Park's taxes are high & the village is tough to deal with. That has to change. Maybe it has & if all the announced new businesses really open that will be evidence of the change. I lived in Berwyn many years ago before I moved to OP. There is no way I'd live in Berwyn!

FormerEmployee from OakPark  

Posted: June 21st, 2014 1:48 AM

This is really quite sad. I was an employee there when they first opened, but somewhere around the one year mark they started letting employees go for really ridiculous reasons. They did have amazing repair staff, but I will agree with other posters that the stock was sorely lacking. Really tho, it doesn't shock me that Adam can't be reached for comment. The man disappears anytime there's any sort of crisis.

Jim Kelly from Oak Park  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 11:03 PM

oops, the last sentence should read "but let's"

Jim Kelly from oak park  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 11:01 PM

I went once to the store, to buy some accessories for a Mac product. The 3 staff people on duty were busy with other customers. I stood there completely ignored for 15 minutes - not one of the staff acknowledged my presence, or said they'd be with me as soon as they could. Retail can't succeed if employees have no customer service skills. The Village is not responsible for bad business plans or faulty staff training. I'm sad they failed, be let's acknowledge who is really responsible.


Posted: June 20th, 2014 10:50 PM

The other issue is Apple wants people to buy new gear not get it repaired. This compbined with poor business location - no parking, hard to stop by etc. doomed this business before it opended. Also, OP positions ourselves as upper middle - but we are not. We are middle/to lower moddle class (not OAK BROOK) so high end stores like this will be hard pressed.


Posted: June 20th, 2014 10:46 PM

Small business is very challenging in this economy and I can assure you anyone who has build a business is not gleeful when someine invests their money, time, blood sweat and rep to make this work. 50% of all new businesses fail within 2 years and emotional toll is high. OP can improve greatly on corp dev. side but wont stop firms from failing. business is war -


Posted: June 20th, 2014 10:44 PM

I'm sorry to see another store close. But certainly I wouldn't make this all about Oak Park and store closings. It was a tough winter. If a business was on the fence, an owner, about wanting to retire or move on - this was the winter to break us. It's sad, but it's also ok. I'm almost always amazed when an owner stays the course longer than 5 years. It's not at all easy. We have some fabulous biz's opening in the next few weeks, some that have opened already. And some expansions. Chin up.

Chris Carrier from Oak Park  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 9:49 PM

I guess I have to stop reading comments, like everywhere else on the net. Why do people want to sneer and snark when sad news like this is announced? Three local stores closing in the last week. Very sad.

Chris Carrier from Oak Park  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 9:47 PM

Berwyn Millionaire - So why are you so interested in OP news then? Maybe OP-adjacent is one of the appeals of Berwyn.

OP Dad  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 9:38 PM

This is lame! It seems like every other day now when I come onto the WJ site and there's some store closing, someone getting robbed at gun point, kids getting their stuffed ripped off them by groups of thugs, pawns stores and wig shops opening, attempted child abductions etc. Just makes me glad that my hard earn money is going towards heated granite sidewalks? Makes me proud to call myself an Oak Parker!

Mike S from Oak Park  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 9:17 PM

Me, I hated that place. It was a fake. There was no stock. All they had was a showing of knock off cords and accessories. Everything else they pretended to check to see if it was in stock in the back, and then came out and said no, but they could order it for you. You can do yourself. Compared to a real Apple store, no one was ever in there. They might as well have been a vacancy because they didn't draw anyone into the neighborhood.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 8:30 PM

Yeah, this looks like a work in progress. Looking forward to the full story in Wednesday's paper.


Posted: June 20th, 2014 8:03 PM

I gotta say, this explanation makes zero sense.

Mac guy from Oak Park  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 7:18 PM

Ha! Only apple repair in 50 miles? Fact check that. I'm dead certain apple repairs at their own facilities. What's more this joke of a store deserves to close. Just look at the yelp comments. Furthermore, if it was profitable, why close it without regard to Kalamazoo. Seriously? Article is as much of a joke as this store.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 7:06 PM

I don't get it. Two years ago, it was going to be a destination spot for people all over the metro area. Everyone said, It can't fail! Can we use the closing as an opportunity to do a substantive study on retail failure? For instance; Are we too quick in screaming that we have another winner? Are we giving business proposal too little examination before approving? Fact is, the business and the village lose money when a bad retail decision is made.


Posted: June 20th, 2014 6:58 PM

Parking and traffic flow....

KMEGC from River Forest  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 6:41 PM

I am really sorry to hear this news. The Mac Specialist was a very welcome addition to OP. I loved that there was someone close by (not Oak Brook or Schaumburg all the time) that I could go to. Mac Specialist, you will be missed.

Berwyn Millionaire  

Posted: June 20th, 2014 6:34 PM

HA HA HA HA. Oak Park = Vacancy Village. But go ahead and raise property taxes even more for a $100 Million Swimming pool while Berwyn keeps booming!

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