May 2001: The First Apple Store Opens


Steve Jobs shows journalist Walt Mossberg around the first Apple store.
Steve Jobs shows journalist Walt Mossberg around the first Apple store.

Ten years ago, the first Apple retail store opened in Tysons Corner Center, Virginia.

Steve Jobs, clad in a black turtleneck and black Levis, showed journalists around the new concept store that would forever change computer retailing.

What’s changed in Apple retailing over the course of a decade?

Lots. Mainly that the original layout was divided into “quarters,” which included areas for home and business computers, music, kids, movies, photos and solutions, where you could make a movie or burn a CD. All of that was later re-arranged to make room for the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Also gone are the PDAs, digital camcorders and camera (check out the pic of Steve Jobs with Walt Mossberg above) and, the fact that in the beginning, no appointments were necessary for the Genius bar. One gimick that seems to have gone the wayside of those PDAs: a “hotline” or bright red phone that the genius could use to get outside help if your computing conundrum proved too difficult.

Writer Joe Wilcox remembers that first store of 4,500 square feet for its clean feel – at the time he likened the hardwood floors and glass storefront to a Gap store.

About 500 people lined up to visit that store when it opened doors on May 19, 2001. At the time it seemed like a huge line, now it seems like business as usual.

What memories do you have of the first Apple retail store you ever set foot in?

Via Betanews

  • lwdesign1

    I went to the Glendale Galleria opening on the second day and was blown away with how wonderful it was to have a dedicated Apple Store in within 10 minutes drive of where I lived. Besides the hoopla and handslapping, the store was clean, well laid out and I thought the genius bar was a stroke of, er, genius. I quizzed the local geniuses on several questions about my laptop and desktop Macs, and was delighted to get real, knowledgeable help that actually sorted out my problems–a joy after dealing with other “computer store” techs who knew nothing of Macs, and even other local Apple-authorized VAR stores. I immediately knew that this was a winner for Apple and that the stores would be a tremendous boon to existing Mac users, and a route for tons of new users.

  • nthnm

    I love the modern look of the Apple stores, but all of the Canadian locations I’ve been in are almost identical and plain.

  • Karen Niemla

    I remember 10 years ago seeing Steve’s tour of the first store in Quicktime on Apple’s site (took forever). Back then there was little video if him, and I had never seen him in action before. I could see right away all that charisma I had read about in books. I totally believed the stores would succeed and wanted so badly to visit one.

  • Berian Lowe

    For pure nostalgia!

  • Karen Niemla

    Whoaaaaa takes me right back!