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Happy Birthday, Apple Stores

Industry experts share their thoughts on Apple's success




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



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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