CBD chaos as Apple Store opens
Photo: Getty Images
June 19, 2008
Hundreds of Apple fans and onlookers clogged the pavements of George Street in the heart of Sydney’s CBD on Thursday night to witness the opening of Australia’s first Apple Store.
Fifteen minutes before the allotted hour of 5pm, the queue to enter the store stretched from the corner of George and King Streets, around the block and back down York Street, almost to Market Street.
In places the line was five deep and police, City of Sydney council officials and private security guards had their job cut out keeping order as workers spilled out of their offices and merged into the streets with late night shoppers.
With fans penned in by metal barricades and flashbulbs illuminating York Street, passers-by could have been forgiven for thinking an international movie star had just arrived on a red carpet for a movie premiere.
Inside the store as zero hour approached, Apple Store staff faced the massive, 15m high glass atrium that frames the store and began singing, dancing an clapping.
For the people at the head of the queue, 5pm marked the end of a 30-plus hour vigil that earned them nothing more than a free t-shirt and the right to say they were among the first customers to visit the new $15 million store.
Although none of the first three in line bought anything, other’s behind them were not so frugal and soon after the doors were open Apple’s tills were ringing.
By about 4.25pm the streets resembled the home stretch of a marathon as scores of Apple employees poured out of the store ran a lap of the block, high-fiving members of the cheering crowds as thanks for their devotion.
“It’s pretty incredible; far more than I expected,” said Brisbane inventor and self-confessed Apple geek Moyzschya Belle, who slept out overnight with scores of other enthusiasts and was among the first wave to enter the store.
“But right now, I’m going home to have a hot shower and snuggle up to my sweetie.”
Gary Allen from Berkeley in California, who writes a blog about Apple Stores and has attended some 30 store openings, also camped outside the store overnight.
He rates the Sydney store as among the top five in the world in terms of design and presentation.
For Anthony Agius from Melbourne who runs the MacTalk forum website, the best part of the overnight experience was the camaraderie. “We just spent all night talking about Macs,” he said.
Apple’s executive were also very pleased with themselves. The turnout had been better than expected and was achieved without any large-scale advertising or paid promotion.
“They all magnificent, but there’s something very special about this [opening],” said Steve Cano, Apple’s senior director of international retail, as the crowd poured in to the store. “There’s a real energy.”
Read more at SMH