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Wednesday, March 02, 2005, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Canadian Apple resellers call it quits as Apple retail heads north

One of Canada's oldest and most respected Apple Resellers will soon close its doors, AppleInsider has been informed.

The owners of Waterloo, Ontario-based Apple Reseller and Authorized Service Provider, First Avenue, have decided that after 20 years of servicing their Macintosh community, they will not continue.

According to one tipster, the store will cease all operations by March 25, but the reasonings behind the closure were never made public. Over by the store's cash register, a small sign notes that no new product orders or repairs are being accepted. In an e-mail to AppleInsider one of the store's staff confirmed the closing, but did not offer details.

"This will leave a gaping hole in the middle of Ontario for sales and service of Apple products," said one member of ehMac, a website dedicated to Canada's Macintosh Community. In a message board thread, eMac members have begun posting some alternative suggestions for obtaining Macintosh sales and service in Ontario's Technology Triangle.

First Avenue's departure from the Macintosh business comes on the heels of similar news announced recently by another Canadian Apple reseller. Ottawa-based B.Mac Le Magasin Inc. had closed three of its four stores in the Montreal area by September, laying off 37 of 52 employees. The reseller's exodus conclude earlier this year with the auctioning of its assets.

It's unclear precisely why these Canadian Apple Resellers are suddenly jumping ship, but sources close to some of the retailers hinted that more and more customers have begun ordering from Apple directly. They say Apple has failed to provide adequate supplies of its latest and hottest products to the resellers, which has driven customers to buy from stores like Best Buy and the Apple online store, where they are more likely to find the goods they seek.

In the meantime, Apple's retail expansion into Canada is heating up. As first reported by AppleInsider last month, the company's inaugural Canadian retail store is scheduled to open May 21st at the Yorkdale Shopping Center. And Apple has its sights on at least 3 other shopping malls in the Ontario area, sources say.

The company last month continued negotiations for a retail space with Cadillac Fairview, realtors for the Toronto Eaton Center. The negotiations for the Eaton Center space have been described as "long" and "drawn-out." A deal is reportedly in place but has not yet been inked.