Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Virginia Commonwealth University will open an on-campus technology store on Monday, April 7, that will offer an array of Apple and Dell computers, devices and accessories to the VCU community.
"Our key mission is to serve VCU's students, faculty and staff by providing them technology products and services under the same roof," said Jay Phinizy, general manager of RamTech, located at 930 W. Grace St.
RamTech will sell laptops, desktops, tablets and other technology products to students, faculty and staff with a valid VCU ID. As an Apple Authorized Campus Store, all of the Apple, as well as Dell, technology products will be available at educational discount prices. Accessories, such as adapters and cases, will also be available.
On Monday, RamTech will mark its grand opening with an all-day celebration. The event will include free food, a photo booth, free giveaways and a grand prize drawing for a Dell Venue 8 tablet sponsored by Dell. The event is free and open to members of the VCU community.
The store, which has 1,656 square feet of retail space, is operated by VCU's Department of Business Services and will be VCU's first on-campus technology store since 2008. It will employ up to 12 VCU student workers.
"The RamTech team will be knowledgeable about the computer requirements for each discipline taught at VCU," said Diane Reynolds, assistant vice president for business services. "They will help students and their families make the right purchase decision by matching the computer products with the students’ major of study."
In addition to computers and accessories, the store will also offer a variety of home and lifestyle technology, such as Fitbit and Nike+ FuelBand fitness tracking devices, as well as smart home technology like the Belkin Wemo. The store is not planning to carry cell phones, but will offer the full range of Apple's iPod line.
VCU's on-campus computer repair service, fixIT, will staff a counter in RamTech, providing tech support and service to VCU students, faculty and staff. In addition to providing support for systems under manufacturers' warranties, fixIT will also provide complete support for all computers purchased with VCUs RamSupport protection plans. These plans cover everything from manufacturer issues to accidental damage for up to four years. The fixIT team even offers complimentary loaner laptops for extended repairs.
"FixIT's just wonderful," Phinizy said. "They do a lot of extras for the student body already. Essentially we're just providing fixIT another place to connect with students. So that's very exciting."
The store is planning to allow VCU faculty and full-time staff to purchase computers and other items via payroll deduction, allowing the cost of the computer to be spread across up to 12 months with no fees or interest, Phinizy said.
"We're still fine-tuning the details, but we're very excited that we'll be able to offer people a chance to defray that initial sticker shock of buying a new computer all at once," he said.
RamTech is also planning to offer training sessions on various tech-related topics, such as setting up a new computer.
Ethan Smith, the store's assistant manager, said RamTech's student workers will be able to offer firsthand knowledge about what their fellow students, particularly freshmen, will need to purchase.
"The nice thing about having a store on campus is that you can come in and talk to somebody about the stuff you actually need for your academic, personal or work needs," Smith said.
RamTech will be open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store will be closed on weekends.
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