Sunday, September 18, 2016

Burlington Mall Pursuit of Apple Likely Fruitless

Apple Too High in the Tree for Sinex Mall to Reach (even at 14 stories!)

Burlington Town Center's (BTC's) owner Don Sinex from the start dangled a new Mall re-development with all kinds of baubles and bangles from housing and parks to a hotel and conference center. One of those baubles offered for Burlington residents supposed retail
“need” as old time malls and box stores wither on the vine: our very own Apple Store (now just “Apple” with new branding). No one has heard anything more other than Sinex saying the Cupertino, CA icompany has some interest. Probably one local Vermont business has more than a passing curiosity—Small Dog Electronics whose stores in Waitsfield and So. Burlington serve all the fanboys and girls in northwestern and central Vermont—the others must go to Montreal, or the stores in southern New Hampshire and Albany.

An Apple in Burlington? Well, good luck Charley Brown!   What a carnival barker Sinex seems to be! Check out our sister northern New England states of Maine and New Hampshire with twice our populations and where Apple does have just four—count them four Apples. Maine has one store at Maine Mall, So. Portland, in Cumberland County with a population of 100,000 more than Chittenden's 136,000, And nearby within a half hour drive are three 100,000 plus counties--Androscoggin, Kennebec and York [over 200,000]. The two counties north and south of Burlington—Franklin and Addison average 40,000 population. To the west, well there are those pesky mountains and Small Dog with it Waitsfield shop.

Our closest Apple to Burlington is in Montreal, 100 miles away. But we have a full service Apple in Small Dog in So. Burlington. Small Dog there is perfectly located a five minute free bus ride away from its primary local customer base—the 15,000 or so students and staff at UVM.

Speaking of New Hampshire with its no sales tax on Apple trinkets and Watches, there are two border stores at Pheasant Lane in Nashua and Rockingham Mall in Salem. The third Apple resides in Manchester in Hillsborough County which has a population two-thirds of Vermont's--over 400,000. And Manchester is a few miles from the Merrimack County line (includes Concord) with 146,000 population.

So the idea that Apple will put Small Dog out of business with a store in the Burlington just does not compute.  How about them apples Mr. Sinex? If Sinex wanted to help small business it might pursue a small puppy from Small Dog, not an urban Apple, a fruit too far. Sushi on a conveyor belt anyone? That new store touted by Sinex added at the BTC entrance lasted just twelve months.

How about them Apples!