In an absence of Apple stores, Experimac seeks to fill a need
WINCHESTER – The closest Apple store to Winchester is in Reston or Fairfax, but a new store at 86 Featherbed Lane is (sort of) changing that.
On Dec. 5, Shane Cannon, an engineer and first-time business owner, opened a branch of Experimac, a franchise that sells and repairs used Apple products. Cannon will be celebrating his new business with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
Cannon grew up in Berryville but only recently came back to the area after spending years outside of Virginia working in the corporate world. After graduating from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he worked in marketing and sales for several oil and gas companies.
In July 2015, Cannon, who was working then for Cummins Inc., relocated to the Northern Virginia area. Then, in December 2015, he was laid off. That, Cannon said, launched him from working sales and marketing in the corporate world to starting a business in Winchester.
“While I was taken back, it was truly a blessing,” Cannon said. “I was home.”
Although Cannon enjoyed the pay and the work that he got in the corporate world, he said that he traveled more than he would have liked. The father of two children, one 7 and one 3, Cannon wanted to be able to spend more time with his kids.
“That was most important to me, is I want to see my kids grow up,” Cannon said. “You can’t do that when you’re 1,000 miles away. I mean, FaceTime is great, but it’s not like holding them, you know?”
Cannon also said that he wanted his children to live close to relatives. That desire, Cannon said, led him to get Cummins to move him from Indianapolis to Virginia.
“The only family [Cannon and his wife] really had between the two of us was my family,” he said. “One brother, half sisters and my mom and dad. And extended family. …We wanted our kids to be around family, and that’s why we took them.”
Cannon also had long-held dreams about becoming a business owner. His father ran a small business as an electrician. Cannon, while wanting to receive education and earn money that his father never did, admired the independence his father had at work.
“You don’t go sit in the Texans suite and drink beer and eat good food on a small business owner’s budget; you do it on a corporate budget,” Cannon said. “But it’s, at the end of the day…controlling your own destiny. You get caught up in a lot of corporate bureaucracies, corporate politics, and you just get tired of that.”
Those factors all led Cannon to run his own business. Cannon said he spent three months looking at various businesses he could possibly run. One of those was SuperGreen solutions, a company run by United Franchising Group that makes green energy products.
Cannon said he hoped that his experience in the energy sector would bring him a job running a store with SuperGreen Solutions. While he was pursuing that job, though, he heard about Experimac, which United Franchising Group also runs.
After talking to several owners of the Experimac franchises and Jim Muir, the president of Experimac, Cannon decided to become an owner of an Experimac store.
Cannon has not yet seen the profits he’s hoping to achieve at Experimac, but he thinks the concept — especially in an area so far away from Apple stores — will eventually produce those rewards. He described Macintosh computers as expensive but reliable and thought that offering lower prices for used computers has a lot of potential for profits.
Besides, Cannon said, he’s enjoying his work.
“Right now, financially, it’s a struggle because I’m starting out,” Cannon said. “But it’s just fun. And I’m home every night, I’m not jumping on planes, I’m not traveling all over the place.”
Eventually, Cannon said he hopes to expand to owning other Experimac franchises in the Northern Virginia area.
“I’m a hunter, not a farmer,” Cannon said. “Once the vegetables are plotted here and the crops are going, we’ll let somebody farm it. I’ll go out and hunt.”
Contact staff writer Max Lee at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org