By Christopher Walsh
New York, NY (December 7, 2007)–Apple’s third and largest Manhattan store is set to open today at 6 p.m. Located at 401 W. 14th St. in New York’s now-trendy Meatpacking District, the Apple Store West 14th Street is Apple’s first three-story store and second largest in the U.S.
The third floor of the sunlit-flooded building, on the corner of 14th Street and Ninth Avenue, is dedicated to service. Featuring a 46-foot Genius Bar and areas for workshops and training, the third floor is also the site of Apple’s new Pro Labs, where customers can receive free training on Apple applications such as Final Cut Pro and Logic. The multi-session Pro Lab series will begin in January 2008.
The new store employs 175 people. More than 60 are employees who have moved from Apple’s existing Manhattan stores, located on Prince Street and Fifth Avenue.
“We’ve got great new features at the store,” Ron Johnson, Apple Senior VP of Retail, remarked at a December 6 pre-opening press event. “A concierge team: we have a dozen people at this store who are here to connect you with the store, to show you how to get around. We’ve got a team of Mac specialists that will help introduce you to the products you want. We’ve got a team of personal shoppers–you can go on the Web and make an appointment at the Apple store at West 14th, and come in for as long as you want at an appointed time that is good for you to learn about the products you want to buy.
“We’ve got Creatives, and we’ve got Mac Geni–Mac Geniuses,” Johnson added. “They provide the technical support. We like to think of them as the smartest technical people in town. And our Creatives are the ones who deliver the Pro Labs, personal training, the workshops and the things that help you get more out of your Mac.”
The first floor of the Apple Store West 14 Street is devoted to Macintosh computers, while the second floor features the ever-popular iPod and recently introduced iPhone, as well as third-party products such as speakers and headphones. “On the second floor, we have more iPods and phones than in any store on one floor in the world,” Johnson stated. “It’s a significant commitment to iPods and phones.”
Of the service-oriented third floor, Johnson commented that, “We like to say that where other stores end with a transaction, that’s where we like to begin. We want people to return to our store to get more out of the Mac, to become part of the community of Apple. I think you’ll be really delighted with the space we have on the third floor. The 46-foot Genius Bar, which runs the entire back panel of the store, will let us serve 100 customers with technical support per hour–an amazing capacity for technical support.”
Additionally, Johnson added, “we have a variety of different tables: short tables for kids, taller tables for children and adults for personal training. And something all new in the back of the store: a setup for what we’re calling Pro Labs. It’s an entirely new feature, only for this store. The idea behind that is, when you look at who lives in this lower west part of Manhattan, there’s a variety of people but one of the common groups are creatives: moviemakers, musicians, photographers, graphic designers. We believe they need a place to take their craft to the next level. We have three Pro Labs that will start in January, so you can sign up for a multi-part session to learn about Aperture, or Final Cut Express, to really discover the tools that you need to make your work the best it can be.
“That’s what we think of as the ‘community floor,'” Johnson continued. “In many ways it’s the nice place to be, above the traffic. It’s a place to gather. We expect a lot of people to come there and hang out, sit in the windowsills and surf the ‘Net, attend a class, attend a workshop, go to a Pro Lab, get personal training, get technical support. It’s the promise of Apple that goes beyond the buying experience to an ownership experience.”