The Apple Store opened its much-anticipated State Street location this weekend after the Jesusita Fire caused a weeklong delay.
Crowds lined up beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday for the store’s grand opening, which was originally scheduled for May 8. While many community members have welcomed the store enthusiastically, some local Macintosh retailers are still waiting to see what the impact of having an official Apple Store in the area will do to business.
According to Apple Store Manager Matt Peyton, the community turnout was unprecedented this weekend.
“What a turnout from the community – this is exceeding our expectations,” Peyton said. “What a great way to start a good long-term relationship.”
The employees gave away black T-shirts featuring the Apple logo and text reading “State Street” to the first thousand customers who attended the opening ceremony. The event included demonstrations of Apple products and opportunities to mingle with the store’s employees.
Meanwhile, local Macintosh stores are wondering what new challenges or opportunities the opening may provide.
MacMechanic, a certified Apple retailer located on E. Gutierrez, has been a member of the Santa Barbara community for over 10 years. MacMechanic Sales Manager Jeffrey Wilkey said that while his initial reaction was one of concern, he believes the new Apple Store may not hurt the establishment’s service and repair operation.
“It was scary at first [going from] being one of the only games in town to having ‘the’ company here,” Wilkey, said. “But we are very optimistic [because both stores] serve different aspects of the Apple community.”
Seth Kennedy, the general manager of MacMechanic, said that “the Apple Store focuses on products like iPods and iPhones,” while MacMechanic focuses heavily on the service aspect of the computer business.
Still, the Apple Store provides a competitive array of products and services, and Kennedy noted that MacMechanic will have to rely on its reputation for personal service as well as its relationship with long-term customers.
“We can continue our specialized customer service, our focus with smaller local business and our on-location installation; we are team players,” Kennedy said. “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Peyton agreed that the new State Street location caters an extensive line of new Apple products previously unavailable to the greater Santa Barbara area.
“Obviously the team is excited,” Peyton said. “We have so many [different] services for Mac users.”
As for the Apple Store itself, Bert Sanchez, a third-year history major, said he plans to put it to good use.
“I have been thinking about getting a Mac laptop for a few weeks now,” Sanchez said. “It couldn’t have opened at a more convenient time.”
The new Apple Store’s hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.