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Apr 12, 2001
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The first Apple retail location could have opened in the late 70s, according to a new account from distinguished Silicon Valley marketer Regis McKenna (via CNET). During a fireside chat held Thursday at the Computer History Museum, McKenna recalled a 1976 meeting in which he turned down an offer from Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to market the Apple II.

However, McKenna stated that he eventually decided to assist Apple after a dinner with Jobs where both discussed the future of the company:
Jobs and McKenna had dinner and talked about what the future of Apple could look like, and McKenna signed on. Eventually McKenna drafted an eight-page marketing plan in December 1976. Lo and behold, what was written under "Distribution Channels"? Apple stores.

"I had actually presented this to Apple a couple of times," he said. "I had talked about putting them in different parts of the country.
apple_store_royal_hawaiian.jpg
Apple Retail Store located at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Honolulu, Hawaii

McKenna went on to state that his plan for Apple's retail locations were to have them placed in office parks, and to cater the stores toward high-profile customers. McKenna also added that the locations would have served as centers for corporate sales and training, and that the eventual goal was to shift toward more traditional retail stores for the company, similar to Apple Stores today.

Apple opened its first two retail stores on May 19, 2001 and currently has 420 stores total, with 166 of those located outside of the U.S. During its financial results conference call covering the 2013 holiday quarter, the company reported $7 billion in revenue generated from its stores with 21,000 visitors per store per week, and an average revenue per store of $16.7 million.

Article Link: 1976 Apple Marketing Proposal Included Plans for Retail Locations
 

thaifood

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2011
310
96
Pretty awesome foresight. Something that may have well been a master plan for decades until it came into fruition.
 

iMacx

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2011
39
9
The idea for a product based company to have a retail store!? Before the age of online sales? Revolutionary! :rolleyes:
 

Anders A

macrumors newbie
Dec 26, 2003
10
0
Denmark
Not entirely correct...

Apple opened its first two retail stores on May 19, 2001

...actually Apple opened a few retail stores in Denmark in the mid 90's. I believe it was to to test different store concepts. None of the concepts looked anything like the current Apple stores though. Ironically Denmark have no Apple stores now/yet.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,721
277
Oregon
Retail stores dedicated to computers in 1976... Yes, I'd call that revolutionary myself.

Not really. Read about The Byte Shop http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Terrell which opened in 1975. The article states that by March 1976 there were three new competitors. I first saw an Apple II at The Byte Shop in Oregon.

I find it more interesting that all the dedicated computer stores (there were many around here) have come and gone. The Apple Store is not a dedicated computer store.
 
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Ebharding

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2012
3
0
if you are old enough

you will remember there were several computer stores around in the late 70s 80's. but 76 was a little early.
 

SeanMcg

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
333
1
Not really. Read about The Byte Shop http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Terrell which opened in 1975. The article states that by March 1976 there were three new competitors. I first saw an Apple II at The Byte Shop in Oregon.

I find it more interesting that all the dedicated computer stores (there were many around here) have come and gone. The Apple Store is not a dedicated computer store.

So it would have been revolutionary to open a retail chain dedicated to one computer manufacturer.

I remember taking my folks into a computer shop on the north side (at the time) of Colordao Springs to show them this computer I was learning about in 6th grade. That resulted in the first of many Apple purchases for our family. That computer store, though, is long gone.
 
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talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,721
277
Oregon
So it would have been revolutionary to open a retail chain dedicated to one computer manufacturer.

That would be true in 1976. I bought a TRS-80 in the summer of 1979 at a Radio Shack Computer Store. I'd say that Radio Shack was the first to have a retail chain dedicated to one computer. I can't find a reference to when they actually opened.
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
6,067
2,079
Western US
I respect this guy for not trying to milk a lawsuit out of this, seems like that's what a lot of scumbags would try to do with this information nowadays.
 

coffey

macrumors newbie
May 21, 2008
13
0
Apple Stores

According to the Washington Post, the first Apple Store was at Tyson's Corner, VA. A few miles outside of Washington DC. The date of the opening of that store was May 19, 2001. So, it took Steve Jobs 25 years to bring that to fruition. We all know he is maniacal about perfection, but the time from conception to creation and marketing makes one wonder how that company stayed in business. It is one of the few examples in our world of quality being able to compete with mass marketing of low quality products.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,721
277
Oregon
So, it took Steve Jobs 25 years to bring that to fruition. We all know he is maniacal about perfection, but the time from conception to creation and marketing makes one wonder how that company stayed in business.

Why wouldn't they stay in business? Until then most computers (Macs, PCs, and others) were sold by independent computer stores and electronics chains. The only exceptions I can think of being starting in the late 80's Dell, Northgate and Gateway as mail order only, and Radio Shack which had dedicated computer stores until mid 80's (I'd guess that date). Radio Shack's computer stores (and their major brand Computer City stores) all eventually failed, as did their computer line. The failure of Gateway's attempt to go to dedicated retail stores led many to seriously doubt Apple's retail move -- it led to Gateway's demise as a company. And look at how we all laugh at the Microsoft Store! Somehow I think that if it weren't for all the iPods and later iPhones and iPads the Apple store would be gone as well.

I'm not a big fan of the Apple store, but they do seem well trained. I really didn't like the Byte Shop in the late 70's. They had a real "better than you" attitude. Then the raft of Computer City, CompUSA, and big-box electronics stores with knowledge-free staffs turned me off as well. I pretty much have always avoided these retail stores going instead for hole-in-the-wall parts stores and mail-order.
 

gnomeisland

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2008
1,027
728
New York, NY
That would be true in 1976. I bought a TRS-80 in the summer of 1979 at a Radio Shack Computer Store. I'd say that Radio Shack was the first to have a retail chain dedicated to one computer. I can't find a reference to when they actually opened.

I had a very different experience. As a kid in the mid-80's I went into a Radioshack and asked if they sold computers and got the rudest look from the guy at the counter. Yes, computer stores existed but they were very different than the Apple Store.

It does sound like Jobs, etc. never quite forgot these proposals and they worked their way back into Apple 30 years later but with a more high-end consumer focus. It is so easy for us to look at what's common now and assume it was always this way. That's the problem with many of Apple's patents, they are so well thought out that they seem obvious but if they were so obvious why hadn't everyone thought to do it? That's innovation.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,721
277
Oregon
I had a very different experience. As a kid in the mid-80's I went into a Radioshack and asked if they sold computers and got the rudest look from the guy at the counter. Yes, computer stores existed but they were very different than the Apple Store.

It does sound like Jobs, etc. never quite forgot these proposals and they worked their way back into Apple 30 years later but with a more high-end consumer focus. It is so easy for us to look at what's common now and assume it was always this way. That's the problem with many of Apple's patents, they are so well thought out that they seem obvious but if they were so obvious why hadn't everyone thought to do it? That's innovation.

The Radio Shack stores and the Radio Shack Computer Stores were completely different. The Computer Stores were dedicated to computers. And at least the one we had was as friendly to browsing as Apple Stores. When I went into the Byte Shop with my 2 year old son to look at the Apple II the clerk was noticeably annoyed. He certainly didn't want a child touching the computer and he didn't seem to think I was a potential customer. Then we went to the Radio Shack Computer store. The clerk said we could take all the time we wanted with the TRS-80 and he would be available for any questions. Frankly, the much maligned TRS-80 was easier to use than the Apple II at the time. I bought one. I had a similar experience when I bought my first iMac and I was in the store for well over an hour trying things out (even brought my own data files) and they let me do my thing. My son is now a Senior Telecommunications Engineer at an international company. Alas, he doesn't like Macs.
 

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Swampthing

Suspended
Mar 5, 2004
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McKenna went on to state that his plan for Apple's retail locations were to have them placed in office parks, and to cater the stores toward high-profile customers. McKenna also added that the locations would have served as centers for corporate sales and training, and that the eventual goal was to shift toward more traditional retail stores for the company, similar to Apple Stores today.

I guess that explains why they opened the first one in a high profile shopping mall in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. But if they were really looking for high profile, they should have hit Tyson's II across the street. All the very high priced stores are there, but it probably wouldn't have been as successful as the Tyson's I store due to the stuffier customers who visit there. ;)
 
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