Attention Floridians: Your first chance to see a local Apple retail store is coming next week. Apple is opening its
first Florida store
in Tampa’s new International Plaza mall on Friday, September 14.
The Apple Stores provide a new venue for Apple to display its hardware and software, which up until now has been relegated to oft-neglected specialty areas in superstores and the shelves of Apple-authorized resellers and specialists. Although a soft retail economy and a weak computer industry had left analysts and industry insiders initially skeptical about Apple’s potential success, recent commentary has been decidedly more optimistic towards Apple’s retail initiative.
Apple has divided the store into solutions areas where the features and benefits of Macintosh systems can be easily demonstrated. A theater area in the back of the store provides a spot where specialists can provide demonstrations of Apple software and hardware at work, and the Genius Bar provides shopgoers with the ability to talk with trained Mac specialists who can help them with technical problems, perform upgrades on their systems, or refer them to area specialists if they have more complex needs. Recently opened Apple Stores also feature over 600 software titles available for purchase — twice what previous stores offered, and probably the most Mac-compatible software that users have ever seen in one location.
International Plaza is a brand new 1.26 million square foot shopping center located just a stone’s throw from Tampa International Airport. The Apple Store is set to debut the same day as International Plaza’s grand opening — the mall will open to the public at 9:15 am on Friday, September 14. The enclosed mall includes anchor stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s, as well 200 specialty retailers, restaurants and more.
Apple’s International Plaza store is the latest location to be revealed as Apple marches relentlessly towards opening 25 retail stores by the year’s end. The company has already opened stores in California, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Massachusetts and Ohio, with stores opening on a near-weekly basis.