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One of the most successful retail stories in modern times is that of the Apple Retail Stores. They have more than exceeded everyone’s expectations including Apple’s. I can remember quotes from analysts and pundits giving them two years before Apple would be forced to start closing them down. Well the first store opened in 2001 and now Apple has over 180 stores world-wide with millions and millions of visitors each year. So much for the gloom and doom forecast.
My closest and favorite Apple store is the Somerset Collection location in Troy Michigan. This store went through a major renovation and had its grand reopening today! At first glance you’ll notice how much larger the store is. You’ll also notice the new shinny stainless steel look and fixtures. This isn’t by accident. Steve Jobs saw the work of this great artist and contract him to design these panels for construction and upgrading of all new Apple Stores. What used to be the back storage, tech room has been relocated to an adjacent space behind one of the other shops. This easily adds another 20-30′ to the depth of the store. The store also appears to be wider when in fact it’s not. This is an example of clever engineering and space saving design that allows the panels and shelving to be more recessed in the existing space. Everything is much more accessible with more Macs to touch and play with. The store got other upgrades that aren’t so obvious For example, the networking in the store has been upgraded to 802.11n with a faster internet pipe as well. All of the cabling has been run through the new stone (not concrete) flooring. There are now two new "Studio" areas for one-on-one training and presentations with 4 large plasma displays. All of these displays can be tuned to the same presentation if need be to allow a larger audience to see the presentation. The Genius Bar has also doubled in size.
What you won’t notice is a row of cash registers. In fact each sales rep walks around with a hand held credit card check out device. Your receipt is emailed to you. There is one register hidden at the Genius Bar for those who insist upon paying with cash.
The lovely Linda Stein gave me the grand tour.
Amir and Dave were also on hand to show me the finer points of the remodel.
As usual the Apple Store was a buzz with people buying Macs, accessories, iPods and everything Apple. It’s great to have a refreshed look on a very successful store in the Apple chain!