The Church of the Apple Store
How Apple escaped from the doldrums of Sears to create the coolest retail space on planet Earth.
Virginia’s Tysons Corner Center, opened in 1968, was one of the country’s first shopping malls. But on May 19, 2001, it would notch another first. The line began forming in the predawn hours, as many as 500 people assembling in the darkness. After that number doubled, security guards stood by to keep the crowds from violating the maximum-occupancy laws. In time, the line stretched through the mall itself, doubling back like a serpent and pouring right out onto the sidewalk. “I have lived in this area for 17 years,” said one man. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Indeed, nobody had. “This” was the opening of an Apple Store—the very first one.
Opened in May of 2001, the first Apple store (top) was the culmination of the vision of Steve Jobs (inset), who’d tapped a number of retail gurus to help plan a signature space that would free Apple from its longstanding problems at the retail level.
Seventeen years later, it’s hard to imagine the retail world without these gleaming minimalist boxes of blond wood, brushed steel and astounding revenue. […]