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Best Buy Concept Lives On Online

Best Buy may have shuttered its two-year-old Escape concept store in January, but its legacy of providing bleeding-edge technology to young CE enthusiasts continues online.

Best Buy opened the club-like CE boutique in the trendy Lincoln Park section of Chicago in November 2004, offering 20-something males a mix of gaming, notebook computers and handheld devices along with an inviting place to demo them.

Escape was ultimately swept up in a concept store housecleaning that saw Best Buy’s female-skewed digital imaging boutique Studio D close last August, and its eq-life health-and-wellness shops divested last June. But unlike its sister stores, Escape lives on online at, where consumers can sample a limited assortment of Japanese micro computers, accessories and novelty electronics, imported by Chicago-based

“Escape was always planned as a trial concept store, and once we received all the customer research we needed, we wrapped up the concept,” said Matthew Hunt, new format director at Best Buy.

Among the nine SKUs currently available from Escape online are an Asus R2h tablet notebook ($1,000), Raon Digital handheld Vega PC ($880), Nabaztag bunny-shaped Wi-Fi device and Incase laptop backpack.