High-tech wares win Denver's heart

Last weekend thousands of Denverites experienced a Rocky Mountain High . . . high tech, that is. It was the Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Show, mobbed by Coloradans looking over the latest in personal computers.

Other major US cities have had computer shows for several years, but this was Denver's first. The state's electronics industry doubled between 1975 and 1980, according to a 1982 survey. And public response to the show left computer salesmen reeling.

''It's hard to believe. We don't usually plan on selling computer systems at shows, but we wrote up three on the first day,'' says Jim Pearce of Business Products Inc., who sells Victor 9000s.

One salesman of computer furniture said he and a number of other of local retailers were skeptical the show would be a success. But it drew 30,000 visitors, many more than promoters expected. There were 85 exhibitors demonstrating everything from large IBM computers to small portable models.

Most of the crowd was business oriented: Men wore three-piece suits; women wore tailored jackets and skirts. Perhaps one visitor in three was a woman, substantially more than attended such shows a few years ago. However, the crowd was punctuated by an occasional cowboy suit and ski outfit.

John Bateman of Computerware attributes the response to the Jan. 3 issue of Time magazine, which dubbed the computer its Man of the Year.

''I have this friend who's a Volkswagen repairman,'' Mr. Bateman says. ''He's a hold-over from the '60s, with hair down to the middle of his back. All he wants to do is fix cars and live with his family up in the mountains. . . . But the last time I talked to him, he said they were thinking of buying a computer.''

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