Thousands attend Apple Store Sydney launch

28 Jun

By staff writers June 19, 2008 10:20am  www.news.com.au

Apple Store to open doors in Sydney, Australia
 
THE Sydney Apple Store has finally opened its doors to thousands of waiting fans.

The pre-opening queue began at the store entrance – 376 George St – and wound around corners for three city blocks.

A NSW policeman said most people had joined the queue in the mid-afternoon, and estimated there were around 3000 people waiting by 4:00pm (AEST).

At 4:30, half an hour before the opening, over a hundred workers gathered inside the storefront – made of 15m-high sheets of glass – to practice their cheers with Apple retail senior-vice president Ron Johnson.

Outside, rush hour pedestrians shuffled in single file between fans, media, onlookers, security and police.

Just before 5:00pm, the crowd chanted a countdown to the hour. Then the Apple Store doors swung open to the first customers – some of whom had camped outside for over 30 hours.

A gauntlet of staff applauded the shoppers, handing them commemorative T-shirts before ushering them along the ground floor and up to the second and third floors.

Security allowed people to enter in five-minute intervals. Each time the doors re-opened, the staff roared enthusiastically and offered customers more T-shirts and high-fives.

As it began to rain, some staff left the store to hand out umbrellas along the line. The bad weather seemed to have little effect on the crowd.

By 6:00pm, the original end of the queue had reached the front doors, but a fresh line had started behind them. It ran for two and a half blocks.

The Apple Store Sydney is the second largest of its kind after the Apple Store in Regent St, London. It spans three floors and offers personal shopping, free computer training, and a 20m-long “Genius Bar” staffed by Apple experts. It will also host exclusive iTunes Live music performances starting on July 3rd.

Apple plans to open two more flagship stores in Australia later this year – one in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood, the other in Chadstone, Melbourne.

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