< I>On Saturday, November 2, Apple opened three stores in Edina, MN, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas. Yours truly was on hand to cover the opening of the Indianapolis store at "The Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing". See images from the opening at the bottom of this report.
When you think of Indiana, if you think of it at all, "cool technology" is not a phrase that springs to your lips. However, all sorts of things go on here, like race cars that can run upside down at 200 MPH, and diesel engines that use no oil in the piston chambers, and pharmaceuticals to let people live productive lives, and technologies used in the iPod. Given that, you would not be surprised to see people out in force for the Keystone Apple Store opening, nor were we disappointed.
Saturday started as one of those clear, crisp, brisk fall mornings for which Indiana is made. We arrived at "The Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing" at 9 AM to some encouraging signs. First, the western end of the parking lot was already packed. (My, but there were a lot of Volkswagens.) Second was the Apple sign on the side of the mall, a beautiful geek beacon if there ever was one, standing proudly on wall. Third there was a sense of something stirring in the breeze, though that may have been the rotting leaves.
By way of background, "The Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing" is your standard Apple Store mall. Near the Apple Store, there is a Pottery Barn, a Brookstone, Talbotis, and so on. In other parts of the mall, there is an Eddie Bauer, a Sharper Image, enough womenis shoe stores to keep Imelda Marcos busy for a month, stores dedicated to scents, the kind of sorta-rugged-looking clothing purchased by people who make over $100K a year, and so on. In short, itis the ideal place for the trophy wives of Hamilton County to go until Carmel puts up the dome over the city for winter. (This joke courtesy of The Jersey Johnny Show.
Incidentally, Monty Python fans will get a kick out of the store opposite Apple. Rather a culinary theme in that part of the mall. (You canit make up stuff like this.) We were tempted to ask if a Mr. Wensleydale was the proprietor, but theyive probably heard that thousands of times before.
We entered to see a large crowd already gathered; no surprise, really, since this is what other openings have reported. As expected, people were orderly, talking to strangers next to them in line, and so on. For the most part, people seemed excited, but not overly so. Different Apple-related items were being worn, including a Clarus hat by John Rothe. Given the number of shirts and hats, aka "waving your freak flag high" as we affectionately call it, several people wondered why Apple wasnit selling branded clothing at the stores. This is not the first time this question has arisen.
Amongst the various Apple-related clothing were lots of shirts for ApplePickers, the local user group. They were handing out information and the occasional prize to people who knew Apple trivia. Bob McLaughlin, the president, came up and said "Are you the guy from The Mac Observer?" (My first instinct was that MacSlash or somebody had sent someone to cover this and that it was time to rumble.) He introduced himself and said some nice things about TMO. As he sometimes posts in our forums, it probably wasnit just a line.
Meeting quite a few people while waiting, we are happy to report that Hoosier Hospitality is alive and well. In particular, we would like to mention George and Torrey Dial, who were unfortunate enough to be in line next to us, and were kind enough to listen to our incessant gum-bumping. A constant theme in conversations was praise for The Mac Experience, a local reseller, and the hope that they will stay in business. Judging from the conversation, a lot of people will continue to "support the home team," as it were, but wanted to be at the opening nonetheless.
From coverages of previous openings, we knew what to expect from the crowds. However, we were curious to see what the usual patrons of "The Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing" would make of us Apple mavens. It was kind of funny, in a way, to see how gauche we were considered, but there was, in those well-hidden looks, a cocked eyebrow above the eye looking down the nose. It seemed they were thinking, to use the verb loosely, that "Hm, if this many people are willing to wait in line, there might be something to it." Let them look at an iMac when the crowd isnit blocking the view, and those outside looking in may want to see what all the fuss is about.
A member of the Marion County sheriffis department was on-hand to allow people into the store in groups only when there was enough room (probably something based on fire codes), and possibly on the off chance that someone would try to burn a Wintel laptop in effigy. Being the first in line in one the groups to be entered, we were able to ask the deputy if heid ever seen anything like this. He said "Not for the opening of some store," but if he had ever done anything for Bob and Tom signings, it was nothing new.
Once inside, two things were immediately noticeable. First, the store seems a dashed bit smaller than the stores in Cincinnati and Schaumburg. Schaumburg being the land where bad malls go to die, that coming from a former resident, you might expect that. Still, where they are going to put the theatre and the classes and all that us anyoneis guess, unless they plan on rearranging things after the holidays.
The other thing we noticed was how happy people were inside the store, whether they were staff or customers. Granted, the folks at The Genius Bar were looking a bit harried, but itis never easy being a genius.
All in all, it was more proof that even here in Indiana, where in spite of Spike Leeis hints we do have electricity, Apple has found a home. Who knows, even those snooty trophy wives who patronize "The Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing" might deign to look at an iPod one day ...
Richard Burton is the author of our Mac OS X Command Line 101 series, and harasses people in our forums as tbone1. When not posting in the forums, he is a programmer, and doesnit purport to be a photographer any more than he purports to be one of those Indy 500 race car drivers. He asks that you keep that in mind when viewing the following.
Click the thumbnails below to see larger versions of the images.