Apple fans in Austin, TX started lining up outside the big new version of store #85 located in Barton Creek Mall at 7:00 AM on Saturday, March 23rd. The lines for the store opening stretched around the corner, and by noon more than 1,000 people had been through the door.
The Crowd Stretched Around the Corner (image courtesy Capitol Macintosh Users Group)
The store opened at 10:00 AM so waiting in line was the usual fun fest that seems to occur when a large group of Apple fans converge.
In line and ready to go (image courtesy Capitol Macintosh Users Group)
The store is three times as big as the old one, has 1,008 square feet of glass, doors that open automatically when you approach, a state-of-the-art customer training area, and twice as much Genius Bar space.
New store - ready to open (image courtesy Capitol Macintosh Users Group)
One primary reason for increasing the size of the store was customer demand. The old store was routinely crowded from open to close. Store personnel told me the expansion had been planned for quite some time, but the company did not want to leave Barton Creek Mall and had to wait for an appropriate store area to become available.
Old location - (image courtesy Capitol Macintosh Users Group)
When I first arrived at 7:10 am staff inside the store were completing the final finishing touches, getting ready for company so to speak. Windows got an extra polish, someone made sure the doors were properly greased, and the Apple logo, which hangs suspended from the ceiling, got a last minute polish.
Waiting in line - almost ready to open (image courtesy Capitol Macintosh Users Group)
And then at last everything was ready. Staff went to the back to put on their Apple T-shirts and to bring out the boxes of shirts that the first 1,000 visitors received as a gift, and the doors opened.
My reward for getting up so early and driving across town was walking in side-by-side with the one person in line ahead of me. When we got inside the store we could hear clapping and whooping for long minutes as customer after customer followed us in.
And off we go (image courtesy Capitol Macintosh Users Group)
It is a great store, staffed by excellent people and it was fun to be part of the opening event. As I understand it, this was the first new store opening for 2013 and it was a great place for it to occur.