AC Gears – Much Loved, Much Missed, Will Rise Again To Conquer World

Curated selection of tech novelties will expand website into multi gallery stores

Visionary curator Kohn Liu creating back-to-the-future club communities for participating subscribers

Part of global wave led by Apple, Amazon and other mega players to bring people together in buying experience

Retro Classic at AC Gears: Nintendo Classic Mini Famicom 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Game Console

Latest Retro Classic at AC Gears: Nintendo Classic Mini Famicom 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Game Console (“From AC Gears’ Osaka office in Japan we bring you Nintendo’s Gold Famicom Mini, this is a limited edition Famicom Mini made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Shonen Jump manga magazine. Preloaded with 20 games that are based on manga. The Famicom is the original Japanese version of the NES first released in 1983. Please note all games are in Japanese.”)

Connoisseurs of desktop and personal technology toys, even though their lives may center on their iPhone X, are always on the lookout for the next big thing they might early adopt anywhere on the ever widening tech horizon.

In New York City for the last decade it has been made easier for them by AC Gears, the uniquely creative retail outlet on 8th Street just West of Broadway.

We encountered AC Gears when we went to choose lightweight summer phones from the extensive wall of headphones which ranged down the left side of the richly stocked outlet. We bought four copies in various colors of Zumreed’s exceptional Airily ZHP-013 portable small wire headband phones, still the coolest design for audiophiles evading summer heat. Sealed though semi-open they outdo in-ear options by providing realistically firm but full size bass from a very small enclosure of less than 2 in diameter, but with nothing artificial added to the sound spectrum.

AC Gears was always exceptional in this way – the only place in Manhattan to try out high quality phones far from the racket and essentially inaccessible wall array of B and H’s otherwise indispensable ninth avenue megastore, let alone the obnoxious Beats flagship counters at Best Buy. In fact for eleven years it was the place where inventive and original user technology from as far away as Japan – especially Japan – could be examined, tried and bought in the tried and true hands-on style which the Internet has never been able to match or replace, despite its torrent of information, news, manipulative promises and changeable prices.

There was a full array of original imports of all kinds. Some examples of other premier AC Gears bounty included:

Lemnos Birdhouse Cuckoo Wall Clock with Light Sensor
Beautifully handmade in Toyama Japan by Japanese craftsman with fine wood and with the simplicity and elegance of a piece of art, but still at an affordable price, Lemnos clocks are what the Japanese like to give newly weds before their weddings. The updated birdhouse cuckoo clock comes with a built-in light sensor, so when it’s dark the bird won’t come out chirping.

The high quality Lemnos bedside alarm also available is aesthetically refined in several ways, including the elegant simplicity of the numerals placed on the glass, the smooth as liquid second hand, the soundless internal works, and the soft press button on top of the smoothly finished wood square to illuminate the face at night when required.

Hailing from Stockholm Sweden, Jays has been making minimalist design audio gear with fantastic sound. With the new Bluetooth earphones coming into its lineup, the new a-Six is one of the most compact and stylish earphones available on the market.

Hailing from Stockholm Sweden, Jays has been making minimalist design audio gear with fantastic sound. With the new Bluetooth earphones coming into its lineup, the new a-Six is one of the most compact and stylish earphones available on the market.

Jays a-Six Wireless Earphones A fine set of Bluetooth earphones currently available from Jays Sweden, priced at only $79.99 but with a very big sound. They are not otherwise available in the US but they should be, given their superb sound, says Kohn of AC Gear, who says that is a classic example of how the mainstream often only looks at what’s popular, not what is good. So this hidden gem has so far has been noticed only by AC Gears, fulfilling its role as the forward thinking curator of cutting edge creativity in tech gear.

Exovault Brass Rosewood Wireless Charging Stand
Handmade in upstate New York with beautifully crafted Rosewood and Brass. It’s a wireless charge for iPhone 8 and iPhone X, as well as any Samsung phone that has wireless charging technology. A beautiful product that exactly matches AC Gears’ aesthetic, as well as our philosophy of new and high quality utility.

Surfing a new wave

As those warned by email a month ago know, however, AC Gears closed up its physical shop on June 15 and for the last month has been selling its high quality wares only from its website, and many connoisseurs of the cutting edge were shocked at what they thought was the sudden loss of a unique and indispensable retail outlet which was so much more than a place to buy new standard gear. Full of unusual advances from the personal tech world in Europe and Asia, it was a place where you could see and touch and try out beautiful and unexpected new offerings you had never heard of.

“AC Gears was my favorite place in New York for so many years in New York and I was very sad to hear about them closing its doors,” wrote one disappointed customer, Ana Lucia Souza, filmmaker and multidisclipinary artist. “AC Gears was not a store, it was a place so ahead of its time, it was conceptual before conceptual was even a thing, it was a place where you could rely on to always find the latest in state-of-art technology, art, and unique objects. The incredible aura created by the attention to detail, high-end quality and disposition of all the objects they offered are incredibly hard to find in any other place in the world today. I trust Mr. Liu’s visionary talent as a curator and I’m very excited to experience this promising new era of his avant-garde conceptions.”

In truth, as Ana Lucia Souza intimates, the alarm was premature. AC Gears is very much alive and heading for a rebirth which takes it further down the path it has already pioneered. For AC Gears plans to continue leading the way in bringing to personal tech the new and widening development in the world of retail, which began when Apple itself led in making its new products physically available in its own stores throughout the nation. This back-to-the-future trend represents retail as a step forward in competition with the Internet, rather than one fighting a losing battle with the low prices and almost infinite range of products on the Web.

Amazon more recently has joined the fray with its own bricks and mortar retail locations to boost in the same way the price competitiveness of its Internet offerings with the different major advantages of the hands-on retail outlet, and other products such as bicycles and food chains are joining in, with Jeff Bezos buying Whole Foods lock, stock and barrel last autumn, and plastering its stores with ads for extra discounts for Prime members.

New way to capture sales

This new global trend was the topic of a keynote panel at Javits this week at the Food Specialty show, which highlighted the shopping experience as a strongly expanding feature of marketing in the industry:

Offering an in-store experience that engages consumers will keep them coming back despite the challenges presented by Amazon and other competitors, according to a panel of retailers at the Summer Fancy Food Show on Sunday.

“People want to be able to eat, shop, and learn, and if we keep delivering on that experience every day, people are going to keep coming,” said Emilio Mignucci, vice president of culinary pioneering at Di Bruno Bros., a five-store specialty retailer in Philadelphia.

Di Bruno Bros., which is known for its cheese and charcuterie, delivers on people’s expectations of a great experience by having knowledgeable people in the store and offering a highly curated selection of “globally local” products—items made by artisans from around the world.

Customers are willing to pay a little more for the kind of experience Di Bruno Bros. provides, Mignucci said.

“When you are delivering a better experience, people aren’t as concerned about the cost,” he said. “When people come into our stores, they know they’re going to pay $1 more, but they also know they’re going to get the experience they know they like.”


AC Gears Bigger and Better

So what actually has happened with AC Gears is not an end but the new and rocket assisted beginning of a new phase, in line with this trend, that its founder, owner and creative engine Kohn Liu, has dreamed up. The imaginative and ambitious young retail technology pioneer from Taiwan has for over a decade masterminded its range of products with global reach amid collaborations with major names in tech, and built a list of celebrity and influential customers.

Now he is joining in the global trend. He aims to capitalize on his experience in New York by reinventing and expanding his footprint here and moving to a global vision of AC Gears, as a leader of the new hands-on curating retail trend in personal technology, just as companies are now trying to do in other industries.

The difference is that AC Gears has amassed an eleven year start in its field. When will it open its new and bigger stores and what will they look like? Kohn likens them to on location sets of artists’ galleries, where a community of customers will exchange ideas in a cafe and where classes in new products use and servicing will be held by producers and inventors who will teach and who will try out new ideas and products, an ongoing club of like minded inventors and enthusiasts who will pay a token club membership fee for privileged access to the premises and facilities.

According to what we hear, then, it will not be too long before the bigger, better, and eventually global version of AC Gears is started to lead tech enthusiasts toward a horizon of participating knowledge and personal development through technology that they can only imagine today.