The gentleman saw my camera, so he stopped me and asked, “What’s all the cheering for?”
“They’re opening a new Apple store,” I replied.
“All that cheering is because they opening a computer store?” He looked slightly puzzled, and then rolled his eyes.
The man didn’t understand, of course: it was a new Apple retail store. In fact, it was the first one in Georgia, located in Lenox Square (3393 Peachtree Road NE). This is the 30th of Apple’s ever growing line of stores and it had a long line of Mac fans waiting for the doors to open, which they did at 9:45 am today. The crowd was ushered inside by a singing, chanting, sometimes dancing group of Apple employees.
The store itself is similar to the rest of the Apple retail spots. The first 25 percent was devoted to the full line of Apple products, the back 75 percent to software and other products designed to enhance the digital lifestyle. There were home and professional segments, a music section, kids’ section, photo-movie section, the Apple Genius Bar and Apple Theater.
“In the past I’ve said that, from what I’d seen, the Apple stores were too Gap-like, and I’d never go into a Gap store,” Shawn King, host-producer of
Your Mac Life, told MacCentral. “But they’re not as Gap-like as I thought after seeing one in person. I do like the open space design. They’re certainly more attractive than I expected.”
The store opened on a beautiful sunny day in the upscale community of Buckhead. The Apple retail store is flanked by Johnston & Murphy and Brookstone shops. Across from it are Jacadi, Sweet Factory and Rich’s stores.
Mike Henigan, member director of the Atlanta Macintosh Users Group, and Kelly Hilliard, the group’s treasurer, were the first folks in line for the store opening, arriving at 6:20 am. The line continued to grow until an impressive crowd was in queue and pumped up for the grand opening.
“An Apple retail store in Atlanta is long overdue,” Henigan said. “The Apple regional division is located here, and Atlanta is a bastion of the Mac platform in the South. It’s not hard to get a Mac in this city, but it’s nice to have one of Apple’s retail stores here at last.”
The Apple store has a solid supply of the flat panel iMacs in stock. It also has the new 23-inch Cinema Displays and recently updated Titanium PowerBooks.
“We’re very excited about the response we’ve gotten from customers from our retail stores, which we began opening just over a year ago,” store manager, Karen O’Quinn, said. “We think they’re great for serving existing Mac customers and for getting the word out to the other 95 percent of computer users. It lets people see Apple products in a setting that really suits them.”
What you won’t see at the Apple retail stores is the eMac for educational customers. If you’re in education you can order one at the stores, but you can’t get up close and personal with one. However, you can check out over 600 software titles and lots of third-party peripherals. If there’s a product the store doesn’t carry that you think they should, just tell the employees.
“We keep track of how well the products are selling, and we keep track of what’s being requested,” O’Quinn said.
During the store’s Grand Opening Week (May 11-18), there will be a variety of presentations on everything from getting started with a Mac to enjoying the digital lifestyle. Visitors to the store can also enter to win the “Digital Lifestyle Collection” valued at over US$3,000. The winner will receive a new iMac with combo drive, a 5GB iPod, a Nikon CoolPix 775 digital camera, a Canon ZR40 digital camcorder and an Epson Stylus Photo 820 printer.
By the way, if you live in the Atlanta area, the Atlanta Macintosh Users Group will have a special guest at their May 14 general meeting: Andy Ihnatko, back-page opinion guy for Macworld magazine and technology columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. The meeting will be held 7-9 pm in the auditorium of St. Joseph’s Hospital. For more info, to the
AMUG Web site.