To celebrate Apple Retail’s tenth anniversary, Gary Allen just drove 3,200 miles, crossed 12 states, and burned 100 gallons of gas.
Apple’s first store, Tysons Corner (Virg.) in the suburbs of Washington D.C.
Apple opened the store at 10am on May 19, 2001 — 10 years ago today. Critics said it would be a disaster and that Apple would soon be shutting its new shops. But a decade later, the chain is one of the most successful in retail history.
Allen left his home is Berkeley, Calif., five days ago.
Allen is the webmaster of ifoAppleStore.com, which has been detailing Apple’s retail stores around the world for the last six years (and has turned into an amazing resource). He’s been keeping a road diary at ifo-roadtrip.com.
He was greeted this morning by staff at Tysons Corner with cake and a round of applause.
At about 9:40 a.m. an employee invited me inside to tour the store. When I walked in, the staff applauded, and I applauded back and congratulated them on an amazing 10 years. The staff offered me a piece of birthday cake for the occasion as the Genius Bar customers puzzled over what was happening.
Allen notes that the store’s birthday wasn’t officially celebrated.
“The store opening wasn’t memorialized, as it turns out,” he said via Twitter. “Just an experience, in keeping with Apple’s tradition.”
He notes that there is still a Day #1 employee working at the store — Specialist John.
Allen has visited about 90 Apple stores around the world, and is famous for camping out overnight for the grand openings of stores in Japan, London and China (hence the name of his site: IFOAppleStore, or “In Front Of”).
Why? “It’s all about the amazing people I meet along the way, both inside and outside the stores,” he says.
Allen has a good analysis of what makes the stores so successful over at Macworld: Ten years of the Apple Retail Store: What went right.