There has been a great deal of hype and waiting but now it’s here. The Apple Store on Princes Street opened its doors to the public today at 10am and we now have our very own Apple Store in the building that once was home to the Pick ‘n Mix.
Around 500 or so people formed an orderly queue this morning from about 4am and it eventually snaked around the corner from the shop front. The customers were kept going by coffee provided by Starbucks courtesy of Apple, and first in the queue was Leon Warren from Easter Road. We spoke to him about what he was here to have a look at:
It is a little bit of madness, an Apple Store opening. There are no posed shots for photographers, rather they like to show off their store and staff as it really is. There is lots of shouting and clapping from all the staff and free T-shirts for all the media attending as well as the first 1,000 customers. But Apple seem to be very pleased to be here, and to have taken over such a lovely building. This building dating from 1769 was the former home of Burger King and Woolworths was the first residential property on Princes Street. It later became the Crown Hotel and since then has taken many forms.
This is a big deal for the city and rather than dwell too much on how we love Apple and their products, it is more important to realise that such an inward investment is an endorsement of Edinburgh and its retail position.
The media were allowed into the store about 9am ahead of the public at 10am. There was a media briefing and Market Leader for Scotland, Chris MacNeill explained that they have reinstated many of the original features of the building: “You may have noticed on the exterior that the sandstone has been restored to its original design, and inside the steel columns with original riveting are back to their original form. The stone floor is the same as our Covent Garden store and is from the Forest of Dean Quarry in Gloucestershire.
“What I love talking about is our team. We are immensely proud of the guys here. We interviewed hundreds of applicants to find the most talented diverse and now highly trained. We have just over 60 employees here. We have amongst them accomplished musicians, magicians, photographers, filmmakers, you name it we’ve got it!
“Within the team we have fluency in 13 languages including Urdu, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Spanish. We are selling 145 products which is our full range of phones and computers. All of these in store are connected to the internet and they are there for you to use as they are all live through fast wifi.
“Edinburgh will be the face of Apple for the many tourists who visit this fabulous city. We cannot wait to get started!”
Quite soon we will also have a new development around the corner at the St James Centre which will be an £850m shopping mall. Only John Lewis will remain from the old building. The rest is to be demolished and rebuilt.
Councillor Frank Ross, Economy Convener, welcomed the announcement that the Apple Store on Princes Street is now open.
He said: “This is great news and a fantastic new offering to shoppers in Edinburgh. It is also further proof that Edinburgh is regarded as one of the leading destinations for major international retail brands following in the footsteps of Harvey Nichols, Hollister and Primark. Attracting big name retailers to the city centre is a key strand of our economy strategy ‘A Strategy for Jobs’ and the Apple store is a perfect example of this.
“The opening of the Apple store is another example of the regeneration that this area of Princes Street is undergoing. Developments in St Andrew Square, the arrival of the trams, refurbishment of Waverley Station, the ambitious plans for the St James Quarter and Registers Lane all combine to what is, and promised to be, a fantastic transformation.
“We have a vibrant city centre and earlier this month new figures revealed that 39 more stores opened in Edinburgh in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2013. This bucked the trend across the UK and shows that business is attracted to invest here as the city is seen as a world class brand and tourist destination. This is critical to ensure the Capital remains the most prosperous city UK city outside of London and why Edinburgh is ranked as the best large European City for foreign direct investment by fDi’s European Cities and Regions of the Future awards.”
The Apple Store Princes Street, is the company’s first store in Edinburgh, their 38th in the UK and 106th in Europe.
There will be Free, fast wireless Internet available for everyone and they will run daily tutorials on how to use their products and services.