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Knoxville gets an Apple Store

Apple Stone KnoxvilleProbably like most people standing in line at West Town Mall this morning, I never thought I'd see the day Knoxville got an Apple Store. Shoot, I figured Apple's retail strategy wouldn't fare so well anyway, and would never expand beyond about a dozen high-profile stores worldwide. But Apple is serious about this retail experience. The crew were energetic, polished, and professional. The store was a nice fit, even if it was hard to take a decent picture. Still, there was a surprisingly large line, one which hadn't shrunk much by the time we left (just before noon). Looks like busy opening days at Apple Stores are still in fashion.

There are two other places to buy Macs in Knoxville (home of the wigsphere): old, tired CompUSA with its MacGhetto and the local Mac fanatic shop, MCS. CompUSA is what it is, but MCS has a charm unto its own. Those guys rock. Still, the mall placement and beautiful styling that is every Apple retail initiative is somewhat of a quiet vindication for many of the Mac fans I saw in line, especially those who stuck with Apple in the Copland days (I saw a woman wearing the shirt with a big red 8 folks). Many of us thought the company would just disappear under a sea of beige. And as we left with our free t-shirts, an older woman asked what we bought that was so wonderful. "Just a few things," said my wife. The woman looked puzzled, and asked why everyone was in line if this was just another store. "But it's an Apple store," she insisted. The older woman turned to her friends, clueless. We left, betting she might drift in later that day, and wind up with a cute little nano for her mall walks...

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