This morning the brand new Apple Store in West Edmonton Mall finally opened. Sharon and I arrived at 9:15am, and found ourselves at the back of a line roughly 200 people long. A few of the people I talked to near the front of the line had been waiting since 6am, and apparently one guy camped out overnight. That's the kind of dedication one would expect for the launch of an Apple Store.
As the grand opening time of 10am neared, the sales associates exited the store cheering and proceeded to run the length of the line, high-fiving everyone as they went. It was a nice way to say "thanks for waiting!" Eventually they opened the doors and started letting people in. Before we knew it we were entering the store, shaking hands with the greeters who continued to cheer. Each person received a little white box which contained a black T-shirt that reads "West Edmonton" with an Apple logo beside it. I was amazed that they just continued to let people in...there were probably fifty employees to begin with, so the place was just packed!
My first experience with an Apple Store was at the flagship outlet on Fifth Avenue in New York back in December. The WEM store is quite a bit smaller (and doesn't have the wicked glass cube overtop) but it still contains all of the elements that I love about Apple Stores: free Wi-Fi, the Genius Bar, roaming sales clerks with wireless payment devices, and of course, lots of excellent Apple gadgets.
We hung around for a bit, used the free Wi-Fi, chatted with people we ran into, and eventually I bought a Universal iPod Dock (had to buy something!). They were still giving out free T-shirts when we left just after 11am. We'll have to wait and see what effect, if any, the Apple Store has on Westworld Computers but either way I'm glad that Edmonton is now a "have" city.
There were lots of people with digital still and video cameras (lots of Flips actually) so it's safe to say that the grand opening was well-documented. You can see all of my photos and videos of the grand opening here.