Apple Store’s Biggest Fan Travels Cross Country To Celebrate 10th Anniversary


Gary Allen at the first Apple store on the chain's tenth anniversary.
Gary Allen at the first Apple store on the chain's tenth anniversary.

To celebrate Apple Retail’s tenth anniversary, Gary Allen just drove 3,200 miles, crossed 12 states, and burned 100 gallons of gas.

His destination?

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, 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

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

  • Fin Devious

     Emmm cake, get me to the Apple store.

  • poppa1138

    pilgrimage to the Apple Store,wedding  in a Apple Store, almost a Religion

  • Mike Rathjen

    The cake is a lie!

  • Northernlight42

    i like the hippy in the tie dye shirt

  • Dean

    I realize this is Cult Of Mac, but, geez, Gary…

  • TylerHoj

     That guys awesome! I’m a huge Apple fan but have never even bought a product from an Apple store. Hopefully planning a trip to the cube in NYC for when iPhone 5 comes out. I don’t have to pay for a hotel if I’m waiting outside a store, BONUS! Seriously jealous of this dude. 

  • Brau

     What a tool!

  • Aldertate

    I think I’ll honeymoon at the Apple store… what a wonderful experience that will be.. 

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  • Torpe