On Saturday, May 19, 2001, Apple Inc. opened its first retail store in the US, at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia. Steve Jobs, the then CEO had hosted a press event earlier that week at the Tysons Corner Center mall announcing the opening of two retail stores. The other retail store that Apple launched on the same day was at Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California. Apple promised the U.S., 25 retail stores by the end of the year 2001. Jobs announced that the next three stores had been planned for the Chicago area, four for the Los Angeles area, and three more for the San Francisco area. Other Apple retail stores were to be opened in Bloomington, Minnesota; Hartford, Connecticut; and the SoHo district, New York. The ones in Virginia and California had been launched first simply because they were ready first.
According to Jobs, the retail stores were designed to give Apple customers an amazing experience. He said “The Apple stores offer an amazing new way to buy a computer. Rather than just hear about megahertz and megabytes, customers can now learn and experience the things they can actually do with a computer, like make movies, burn custom music CDs, and publish their digital photos on a personal website.”
Upon launch, the Apple retail stores carried every Apple product and over 300 third-party software titles to be bought off-the-rack. The store salespeople were demonstrated Macs powered with applications such as iTunes and iMovie. The newly launched Mac OS X operating system was available for customers to experience firsthand. All the Macs on display were connected to the Internet. The Apple stores showcased the digital lifestyle products that complemented the Mac experience – a range of digital cameras, camcorders, and MP3 players. The iTunes powered devices played music through the store.
The original Apple store was organized into six sections to make it easy for the clients –
• Products — The products section of the Apple retail store had “Home” and “Pro” sections showcasing a full range of Macintosh computers. The section stocked displays and Apple’s wireless networking solution AirPort.
• Solutions — The latest digital lifestyle solutions were showcased in this section. It featured solutions that could help accentuate the Mac and help the customer to get the best out of their Apple personal computers. Solutions included movie-making, digital camera printing. The section also stocked kids’ education software and games.
• Genius Bar — The Genius Bar of the first Apple retail store was visited by over 25 customers in the first 30 minutes. The section was staffed by the most knowledgeable Mac people from the neighborhood. Each customer was invited to ask Mac questions, and be involved actively in the local Mac community. The section was connected with a “hot line” to the Apple headquarters which could give customers immediate help with regard to any Apple product or service.
• Theater — At the theater, Apple customers could experience demonstrations of the recent innovations from Apple, such as the Mac OS X, on a giant 10 foot diagonal screen.
• Software — This is the section which stored over 300 Mac software titles. By August 3, 2001, the software area of the Apple Retail Stores grew to include over 600 software titles.
• Etc.— The Etcetera area contained an assortment of products such as printers, scanners, tablets, cables, paper, ink and other accessories.
On May 19, over 500 fans lined up at about 4 am EDT to be among the first customers. By the time the store opened at 10 am, they had started to chant “Apple, Apple, Apple”. On the opening day, security guards kept a close watch over the people entering the store since local regulations limited store capacity to 80 people. In the first two days, the Apple retail stores welcomed over 7700 people and recorded the sales of over $599,000 worth of merchandise. On the opening day, Apple customers found the following message in their shopping bags, “This store is our way of personally introducing you to the Apple way of life. At Apple, we are committed to building a community where knowledge can be shared freely.”
Also On This Day:
1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England’s King Henry VIII, is beheaded.
1588 – The Spanish Armada sets sail for England.
1890 – Ho Chi Minh, founder of the Indochina Communist Party, is born.
1926 – Benito Mussolini declares Rome a fascist state.
1935 – Lawrence of Arabia dies following a motorcycle accident.