After more than two decades in the discount computer business, Computer Trends is expanding its product offerings.
The Calgary-based company is transitioning into discount department stores, with these operating under the name BuyZing. Two opened in Winnipeg and Lethbridge last year, and two more in Edmonton are scheduled to commence operations in about 45 days, said Computer Trends president and founder Chris Steele.
He hopes that Red Deer will join the chain by August, with the city’s Computer Trends store at 2310 Gaetz Ave. closing recently as part of the change-over.
Steele said BuyZing premises will range in size from about 15,000 to 30,000 square feet, and stock 5,000 to 10,000 products.
“We now carry furniture, appliances, housewares, home decor, jewelry and dollar items, and we actually transplant the Computer Trends store and put it directly inside the BuyZing store.”
Dating back to 1991, Computer Trends sold computers, laptops, accessories and related items that were refurbished, or came from other business’s surplus stock or close-out inventory.
Steele said BuyZing does the same, and also sources goods directly from factories in places like China. He said its prices are 10 to 80 per cent lower than regular big box retail pricing.
He added that BuyZing stores are bright and clean, and emphasize customer service. Most of the merchandise they carry differs from that sold by other discount retailers, he said.
“We also deploy live, real-time inventory system traffic counters at the store,” said Steele, pointing out that BuyZing’s product mix will change in response to customer demand.
The chain will operate in the three Prairie provinces, replacing the Computer Trends stores in Edmonton (three), Calgary (three), Winnipeg (three), Red Deer, Lethbridge and Saskatoon, he said. Efforts are currently underway to find a suitable retail location in Red Deer.
“We have a couple irons in the fire,” said Steele, adding that it will only take about 45 days to open once each site has been secured.
“We’ve actually pre-bought all of the store fixtures for the first 10 stores.”
BuyZing operates as a division of Computer Trends.