Apple ordered four-thousand custom-designed t-shirts to be handed out at the opening of its 300th, and largest retail store, in Covent Garden, London. Twenty-four hours before the store opened its slick, glass doors for the first time, the very first customer started queuing up. She is from Pennsylvania and, knowing the massive wait before her, she’d brought along two law textbooks to catch up on some work. She was first to get her hands on one of the Apple t-shirts, and within four hours, four-thousand visitors and customers had passed through the doors and grabbed a t-shirt for themselves.
I visited our capital just a couple of weeks ago, and popped along to Covent Garden myself. Staring at the sparkling Apple logo peeking out behind the draping red curtain poster that enclosed the store and obscured it from public view until its opening on Saturday, I was proud to think that the United Kingdom is just as passionate about technology as our friends to the West and the East. And when the curtains were pulled back and the world’s largest Apple Store was revealed, it didn’t disappoint. In the stylish design we’re all now used to, and with the help of English oak and York stone, the company had managed to twine together the traditional, sophisticated architecture and design of the Grade II listed building with the minimalism and modern look we all attribute to Apple. Ron Johnson, the SVP of retail, said it is a “historic” store.
The new store employs 300 staff, and will help to take pressure off Apple’s busiest store in Regent’s Street, also in London. Everything is neatly laid out and positioned, the ground floor divided off into four different sections, for the Mac, iPhone, iPod and iPad respectively. The first floor is home to Apple’s newest Genius Bar, helping customers to combat their issues and problems, with software and accessories, as well as business briefing rooms, on the third and final floor. As usual, the enthusiasm of Apple employees was displayed when they cheered and high-fived the first visitors as the doors opened at 10am, with a special appearance being made by Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President at Apple for iPhone Software.
And if you wonder the real reason why Apple products are more expensive than other companies, here’s a hint. When you’ve got an address like “No.1, The Piazza, Covent Garden”, and when your biggest store is in the heart of one of London’s most fashionable, world-renowned shopping areas, every inch of real estate costs. When you have three massive floors in a listed building (a building which cannot be demolished, extended or altered without special permission), the price tag is quite sizable.
I believe that this is certainly another part of Apple which means that it has been awarded Most Admirable Company in the world for the last three years. Apple just has that image and imagination – it ticks those boxes. It combines together the amazing equipment, hardware, software and engineering that it develops with the fashionable, unique image that it holds, and attending Apple Store official openings or just visiting the Apple Store in general is almost a cult ritual. This is why Apple is so admired – because by far it is the coolest company in technology, it is renowned around the world for quality, and it’s not the usual company, where its executives dare not be seen in anything other than a suit. These amazing visitor figures show just how much Apple and technology itself is popular in the United Kingdom and around the world, and with a CEO who wears jeans and a t-shirt at conferences, and with employees who wear t-shirts and whatever else they feel comfortable in, it’s clear that being a geek is the coolest thing you can be.
Have you visited the Apple Store in London? Do you think the Apple is the most fashionable brand in the world? Why do you think Apple so successful? Do you think the Apple Store is part of the experience? Let us know what you think – leave a comment.