Gateway, Inc., a leading national retailer of personal computers, will be opening a store on Nassau Street next month in the building next to Talbot's Kids.
The Gateway Country Store will serve as a showroom for Gateway's line of computer products. Customers will be able to test various models and software packages on site, then purchase a made-to-order machine, according to Gateway spokesman Greg Lund.
Lund said he expects Princeton to be a profitable location for the new store. "We are always on the lookout for places that would be good technology communities and provide a fertile environment for us to flourish," he said. "Princeton fits that mold."
Lund referred to the new facility as a "small footprint store." Instead of the usual 8,000 sq. ft. of retail space, the site has only 2,196 sq. ft. and will not offer the repair, upgrade and tutorial services available at larger Gateway Country stores.
Though it will carry no inventory, the store will give prospective buyers the opportunity to use and experiment with Gateway computers and other Gateway products before making a purchase.
"These stores give the client a chance to take our systems for a test drive," Lund said. "All our products are available for consumers to use and inspect to their satisfaction. The customer uses the system, determines if it is the right fit, makes an order through the store and gets it delivered within five to seven business days."
Lund said he expects the store will appeal to both University students and Princeton residents. "Certainly we believe the University is critical to the success of this store, but we hope to serve the entire spectrum of Gateway clients," he said.
Though Lund said he does not expect the store to offer special discounts for the University, students will be able to take advantage of regular promotions and sales.
"We plan to stick to our regular business model, but throughout the year we have marketing packages aimed at students in general," he said. "We don't plan on making special exceptions based on the presence of the University."
Lund said he believes Gateway's products will be popular with Princeton students.
"We compete all over the world, and we believe that the quality of our products will make us successful in the marketplace," he said. "Competition is healthy. We plan on providing an attractive option."
Gateway — which achieved prominence selling computers over the Internet and by telephone — began opening Country stores in 1996 to provide a more hands-on shopping experience for its customers, according to the Gateway Website. With the new Princeton location, there will be close to 240 stores worldwide, with six in New Jersey, Lund said.