Happy Birthday, Apple Stores

Industry experts share their thoughts on Apple's success
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Posted July 1, 2011

Apple Inc. opened its first store on May 19, 2001. Two days later, Bloomberg Businessweek ran the headline: “Sorry, Steve: Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work.” Well, as we all know, it does work. To commemorate Apple retail’s 10-year anniversary, VMSD talked to some industry experts on how Apple revolutionized store design.

Apple has redefined “easy.” Nothing about shopping there is unpleasant, unattractive or annoying. – Jan Tribbey, vp, store design and construction, Victoria’s Secret

They reinvented the simple experience of walking up stairs – I want to see what’s on the next level and I enjoy getting there! – David Milne, vp, architecture and design, Carlson Restaurants

The Apple store reinvents the entire social aspect of “doing commerce.” – Ken Pray, director, store design, Kroger

An uber clean, fresh world.......to focus on product & information & the next thing......cannot wait to see what the next 10 bring. – Tom Beebe, creative consultant/stylist

I can’t think of a retail client I’ve worked with in the last 10 years that hasn’t referenced Apple’s reinvention of the customer experience. – Michael Bodziner, principal, Gensler

They simplified retail to the point where it’s you, the product and someone who can help you. – Lee Peterson, executive vp, creative services, WD Partners

They feel ubiquitous because of their brand presences as a standalone store, store-within-store and online. – Sharon Lessard, vp, store design, SuperValu

Apple created less of a store and more of a town square where people can gather, learn, reach out and experience. – Bryan Gailey, vp, retail design director, Arc Worldwide

A clean and simple environment, easy to navigate and offering ample space to experience the product and conduct meaningful conversations. – Jason Floyd, director, store development, GameStop

People flock to these locations when a launch event is going on, but are also comfortable just stopping by for casual visits night or day. – Rick Burbee, divisional vp, Sears Holdings

I like the simple design where the product is the star. Apple retail and Apple products are so consistent that I know I will always enjoy the experience, even when I have to wait in line to give them $1000 for the latest tech wonder. – Jack Hruska, executive vp, creative services, Bloomingdale’s

If there isn’t a market, make it! If there isn’t a compelling experience, create it! If no one is listening to the customer, just stop and listen carefully! – Randall Stone, senior partner, Lippincott

Having built over 200 stores for Apple, including the iconic glass cube, what continually impresses me is Apple’s demand for precision and excellence. – Les Hiscoe, vp, retail group, Shawmut Design & Construction

Did someone say “less is more”? Must have been Steve Jobs. Apple has mastered complexity simplified. – Stephanie Picone, vp, marketing/visual merchandising, IZOD Retail