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Fast-growing computer shop closes its doors for good

By DAVE GUSSOW, Times Technology Editor

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 7, 2000


BCD Computer Distributions Inc. of Tampa was once a rising star in the local high-tech community. Now, it's gone.

The computer retailer made the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in 1998 at No. 130, with 1997 revenues of $8-million. But it closed the last of its three stores in Tampa and Clearwater in December.

"It was hard for me to see BCD go down because it was always my goal to be that size shop," said Brett Kappes, owner of PC Generations (www.pcgenerations.com) in Tampa, which took over BCD's customer database and is handling its remaining warranty work.

Competition from cheap PCs hurt BCD, which did custom-built computers, networks, repairs and training, Kappes said. But BCD owner Lee Vaccaro also apparently grew tired of working 70-hour weeks and decided to close the business. Attempts to reach Vaccaro were unsuccessful.

Kappes, who started his business in 1996 and has one store, says local clone shops have to adjust to the changing market. About 60 percent of Kappes' business once came from building computers. With cheaper computers flooding the market, it's down to about 20 percent, with business-to-business consulting, networking and repairs now the bulk of his $100,000-a-month revenues.

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