December 7, 2007: Apple opens its magisterial store on West 14th Street in New York City, featuring a three-story glass staircase that’s the most complex ever made.
The store is Apple’s biggest in Manhattan (and second-largest in the United States, after the one on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue). The first three-story Apple retail outlet, it boasts an entire floor dedicated to services. It’s also the first Apple Store to offer free Pro Labs classes to customers.
The stellar support you get at the Genius Bar is one reason why many of us continue to buy Macs, but it almost never made it to an Apple store. Steve Jobs thought the idea was “idiotic” and told former retail chief Ron Johnson it would fail.
Ron Johnson, a.k.a. the former Apple retail guru who played a key role in launching the Apple Store, has officially launched his new startup.
Called Enjoy Technology, Johnson’s website sells dozens of high-end tech gadgets, including smartphones, laptops, speakers, tablets, and drones — only with the added twist that customers get free home setup from an expert at no extra cost.
Former Apple retail boss Ron Johnson is taking on a new mission: helping online retailer Nasty Gal move into the brick-and-mortar retail space.
According to Re/code, Johnson is leading a $16 million investment in the ultra-chic brand, which started out in 2006 as an eBay store, and has risen to bring in more than $100 million in annual revenue. Johnson will also be joining the company’s board of directors, while simultaneously acting as the CEO of his as-yet-unlaunched e-commerce startup, Enjoy.
Ron Johnson was Apple’s first head of retail, and he is widely credited with the early success of what is now the most profitable retail brand on Earth.
In a recent interview at Stanford University, his alma mater, Johnson reflected on his career in retail at brands like Target, Apple and J.C. Penney. He gave some insight into the decisions behind what makes the Apple Store “experience,” including why every store has always had free Wi-Fi.
Johnson also talked about the “intimate” relationship he had with Steve Jobs and shared a pretty surprising opinion about the late CEO.
It takes a lot to be both New York City’s most photographed landmark and Apple’s most beautiful retail store. It’s rare that a shop can genuinely be said to take your breath away, but in the case of New York’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store, it lives up to its reputation — and then some.
A big glass box with a glass elevator in the middle, as well as a see-through staircase, complete with wrap-around glass banister, it’s a little bit like Apple’s long-forgotten (but spectacular) Power Mac G4 Cube — only so big that you can shop in it.
Grossing more than any other store in New York, and making more dosh per square foot than any other store in the world, exactly eight years after it opened its doors, Apple’s flagship retail store has become an iconic part of the New York landscape.
And like a lot of the best Apple products, it owes it all to Steve Jobs.
Apple has today announced that Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, will be joining the Cupertino company to take up a newly-created position as senior vice president of retail and online stores. Ahrendts will report directly to CEO Tim Cook and will oversee the strategic direction, expansion, and operation of Apple’s retail business.
Apple has been without a head of retail for nearly a year. Since John Browett was hired and quickly fired last year, Tim Cook has been in charge of the company’s retail operations. Apple has made it clear that it’s on the hunt for a new executive to fill the role, but there hasn’t been any candidates to fit the bill.
While Apple does occasionally make high-profile hires from other companies, promotions often happen from the inside. Tim Cook himself is an example. He was Chief Operations Officer before Steve Jobs died and made him CEO.
As Apple continues to seek a new retail leader, don’t expect the position to be filled by someone currently on Apple’s roster. But that doesn’t necessarily rule out former employees.
Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson’s time at JC Penney was not a good one for the company. Johnson tried to revamp the retailer’s image from a clearing house for cheap junk sold at discounted prices during an endless spree of “sales” and “coupons” into a refined boutique, a store-within-a-store retail concept similar to the Apple Store.
The result? A $12.99 billion year-over-year decline in revenue that got Johnson fired as CEO after his first year on the job. And if that’s not bad enough, JC Penney is now adding insult to injury by releasing a commercial apologizing for the changes he made.
Steam! That’s what Steve Jobs would have had rocket from his ears when he heard about Facebook Home. We’ll explain why on our newest CultCast, but also covet aloud the one feature we hope Apple borrows for iOS. Plus, inside Leander Kahney’s Jony Ive book; Ron Johnson father of the Apple Store takes a boot to the rear; and we wrap with an all new Faves ‘N Raves, the segment where we pitch our favorite tech and apps then vote on which one’s best!
Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing now on iTunes, or hit play below and let the good times roll.