Apple Store Grand Opening or Knoxville Needs Shirts

by Chris Seibold Jul 01, 2006

The east Tennessee area was badly underserved as far as legit Apple stores go, local Apple fans had to travel three hours west or south to hit the closest Genius Bar and that is a long way to go for even the most die hard Apple fan. That all changed when Apple opened up its latest store in West Town Mall.

Expecting the reaction to be tepid, an Apple store opening is something I wouldn’t go to if I didn’t write for AppleMatters, I made the 9:15 trek to the local mall (normally a place I avoid). Not being sure where the Apple store was located in the maze-like sprawl of this area’s premiere cash for goods and services locale, I cruised the parking lot looking for a few folks that had Apple written all over them. Moments later I saw a guy with a Jaguar shirt and a copy of Dune tucked into the back of his pants. Noting the entrance he chose, I parked and followed suit.

I may have not been expecting much, but the mall had much greater expectations:

At least the mall was hopeful. I still expected a hundred people tops, this wasn’t University of Tennessee football after all. Turns out, unsurprisingly, that Apple knows more about the market than I. When I got in line, my view looked precisely as follows.

You can see the Apple logo if you squint real hard.

The crowd was decidedly mixed, young and old, geeky and cool, business and casual. Even the best veternerians in Knoxville showed up.
The pros from Emory Animal Hospital put in an appearance

The crowd was also very enthusiastic. The doors would open and Apple employees would come out to, get this, cheers. Which is interesting, I find it somewhat inexplicable that people would actually cheer because some company is selling them stuff. By way of comparison, Victoria’s Secret didn’t have a line (and I’m pretty sure I know what her secret is by the way, she dresses like a … well, you get the idea).
No line here

A few moments passed and a Simon Properties guy videoed the line. Then an Apple guy did the same.

Capturing the moment for Steve Jobs

The employees led another cheer and people started going into the store. I was surprised to find that not all the employees were the young hipster types. There were middle-aged women, some clean cut guys, and surprisingly few piercings. All the Apple folks I dealt with were very courteous and moderately knowledgeable.

On the way out you got the shirt. Judging by the number of shirts left when I checked out I was, roughly, number 500. My expectations pleasantly shattered, I was left to choose one of two inescapable conclusions: either there are a lot of enthusiastic Apple fans around here or people in Knoxville need shirts.
This guy has his shirt on before he left the mall. Was it Apple or the free clothes?


  • Let’s hope there’s enough business to keep them open!  Come to think of it, does anyone know of any Apple store ever closing up?

    I’m still waiting for them to open an Apple store in the Burbank Mall near me, which I really think would do well considering the all movie studios and post-production houses nearby.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jul 01, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Let’s hope there’s enough business to keep them open!  Come to think of it, does anyone know of any Apple store ever closing up? -Bbx

    Like I said from several Mac reports ago, Apple’s market researchers are the best and only the best locations (more on this below) will get served.

    When I say the best locations, Apple will not automatically select a certain spot for egotistical pride of being in a well-to-do area such as Burbank. I am sure Apple is scouting much of L.A. and the rest of the U.S.A. for that profitable retail bonanza.

    I have lived in the Memphis/Millington area and I can understand a 1-2 hour bus ride to the nearest mega-mall at this newest Mac showcase. All I can say is CONGRATS! to our Mac faithfuls in Knoxville!

    From this point on, you will be over-served, over your PC buying expectations. Well done and good biddings to our retail friends at Apple!

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 02, 2006 Posts: 846
  • And as for Apple stores closing, dream on, the ride is only at the starting gate.

    Apple is at last count only manages to cruise past 130 total worldwide ( Compare that to Starbucks’ 6216 stores ( and still growing every street corner daily! Apple’s got some catching up to do to even reach a thousand stores.

    If there are stores closing, it is because they are relocating to a much bigger part of that mall.

    Any Mac scouts have sightings of such lateral closings/openings?

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 02, 2006 Posts: 846
  • In Charlotte, NC, the Apple Store is the highest grossing store in Charlotte’s biggest upscale mall. (Including Nordstroms) This is the “small” store model. Not even a theater setup to hold a class.


    DanRobinson had this to say on Jul 02, 2006 Posts: 9
  • That is really wonderful, Dan, and not even a “theater” in the back ways to lap that MacBook and exercise the thumb with a nano? You’re kidding! You Mac faithfuls in Charlotte are really a loyal bunch. Keep it up!

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 02, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment