With the official opening of the first Gateway Country Store in Manhattan Monday, the North Sioux City, S.D.-based company formally launched its plan to boost business sales.
The New York City location-as well as most of Gateway's 161 Country Stores-has a sales staff tasked to business customers, said Ted Waitt, Gateway's founder and CEO, who was on hand for the event. Gateway seeks to drive the revenue from business sales well past the 10%-to-15% they account for at most Country Stores, he said.
"We will push the business aspect, but we've found the longer a store is open the more business sales take place," Waitt said, adding that segment will not take precedence over the consumer side. Instead, he said, he believes business sales will help spur sales to the general public. "People in business buy computers for the home, too," he said.
The shift to a business-centric model from the company's roots in consumer sales is needed to keep up profit margins. "There is not that much money to be made in the hardware," Waitt said, there's a stress on services that can be sold to businesses.
Gateway will open a second Manhattan store in Union Square by early July and is searching for a Wall Street for an outlet it plans to open later this year, said Joseph Burke, global business development senior VP. Gateway is also in the planing for stores on Long Island.