Apple Shows Off New Flagship Boston Store

The largest Apple store yet boasts three floors and 165 new area jobs.

By Dan Moren
Wed, May 14, 2008

Macworld — Apple has big plans for its latest retail store and its first in downtown Boston—literally. The new brick-and-mortar outlet, opening Thursday on Boston's tony Boylston Street, will be the largest Apple Store in the United States with three floors of retail space.

"Apple has exploded in growth," said Apple senior vice president of retail Ron Johnson during a Wednesday preview of the Boylston Street store. "Boston is also redeveloping—theres so much growth in Boston, combined with growth for Apple, that it's time to build another large store."

While the Metro Boston area already features eight stores, the Boylston Street store is the first in the city itself. Johnson noted Wednesday that Apple has had its eye on the site for eight years—before the company even opened the first of its retail outlets. And its plans for the Boylston Street outlet have expanded over time.

"If we had opened this store in 2001, it would have been one level," Johnson said. "If we had opened it in 2005, it would have been a two level store. But in 2008, it's the largest store in the U.S."

Apple's retail efforts have grown considerably since Apple first eyed downtown Boston as a potential site for one of its stores. The company now has 210 stores around the world—183 in the U.S., with 15 in the U.K., seven in Japan, four in Canada, and one in Italy. The retail stores brought in $1.45 billion in second-quarter revenue, Apple reported last month. The Boston store is one of 45 that Apple plans to open during its 2008 fiscal year; the company also plans brick-and-mortar efforts in Australia, China, and Switzerland.

Apple's new Boston store is the largest in the US.

Apple executives see the retail stores as a way to get more out of the company's Mac business. According to Johnson, Apple hopes to attract five different types of customers to its stores—people who live in the area, people who go to school in the area, people who work there, people who play or shop nearby, and tourists who visit.

With a location in the heart of the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston featuring upscale shops, plenty of office buildings, one of the city's primary convention centers, and proximity to several area universities, the Boylston Street store's location is "perfect" for drawing all five kinds of customers, Johnson said.

"That's why it's so big," he added.

In the course of planning the store, Apple worked closely with the city of Boston and the Boston Redevelopment Authority to make the store fit into the neighborhood. "It's a beautiful building," Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said at Wednesday's media briefing, "much better than what was here before," referring to the building's former occupant, a copy shop.

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