New Apple Store Opens Today in Lincoln Park

by Amanda on October 23, 2010

Chicago IL Lincoln Park apple store Wide Open… that’s what the email invitation said and after driving through the amazing structure being built on the corner of North and Clybourn for the last 1.5 years, I see what they’re talking about.

You can actually see THROUGH the building!

Not to EVER be outdone in ANY way… The 2nd Apple Store to grace the city of Chicago opens it’s doors tomorrow morning (Saturday, October 23rd) in grandiose fashion.  According to the email invitation sent out this morning:

“Come to the Apple Store, where you’ll enjoy a new kind of shopping experience. Inside the store, all Apple products are available for you to purchase, and you can spend as much time as you like trying them out. Check out the next generation of MacBooks with the new MacBook Air, listen to music on an iPod, see everything iPhone can do, or experience the magic of iPad. Outside the store, we’ve created a plaza with complimentary Wi-Fi for everyone to enjoy.

In celebration of this special store, current Mac owners can buy a One to One membership, normally available only with the purchase of a new Mac.* And if you’re one of the first 4000 customers, you’ll get a free commemorative T-shirt.**”

First of all, I have to disclaim that I am NOT a MAC Fanboy.  I just bought myself a new DELL about 2 months ago and couldn’t be happier.  However, there’s something about the “mystique”, the “style”, the… <insert word here> of Apple that always captivates my attention.  But their stores… are something completely different from anything that I have ever experience.  It’s like they actually WANT you to be there…

If you haven’t been into an Apple Store before, do yourself a favor and check it out.  The store practically reeks of customer experience and service.  The first thing you’ll notice is that there are products OUT FOR YOU TO TOUCH!  Not only can you touch them, but THEY REALLY WORK – AND THERE’S A COUPLE OF THEM AS WELL!  After you get past this part, you’ll notice the big differentiator… the people they employ to work there.  I first read about this in a Fast Company article in 2007 entitled “Magic Shop” where the author actually documents his experience working at an Apple Store.

What makes this such a different customer experience from other retail shops?  Why is Apple investing millions of dollars into gold IRA while everyone else is shuttering the windows?  Here are a couple of observations from my point of view:

  1. Their staff is employed to help you – even if that means you don’t buy anything
  2. Their store is a “fun” place to be – it’s loud, crowded and beautiful, filled with all different shapes, ages and types of people.  (In my last trip there I enjoyed watching a 14 year old skater and an “older” gentleman testing out the iPad next to one another – and more interestingly – DISCUSSING their findings!)
  3. It’s attractive – not just aesthetically, but in a “I wanna be part of that group” kind of way.  I have to admit I experienced this yearning to be included while toting my PC in my bag.

Those are just a couple of reasons, but it really does sum it up.  I could go into the business end of it that since their inception, the Apple Store (retail division) has grown at magnitudes that show in 2009 the stores brought in over 170 million people to experience their space – resulting in almost $1.4 billion (with a B) of profit.

Apple Store Yearly Profits (information courtesy of

I was amazed at these numbers.  Not only was it fun, energetic and beautiful, but it also MADE MONEY?

But then I realized that this concept (aside from the multi-million dollar structure) is based upon the same core values I run my business.

  • The customer is first and foremost a customer who deserves the best we can deliver.
  • It’s not just about the sale – peace of mind, information, and long term education have ROI as well.
  • Deliver WOW – go above and beyond the expectations of the consumer and they will notice and appreciate it.
  • Be Yourself – embrace your core values, your personality and bring it into your daily life.
  • Be the best at what you do – you don’t have to be all things to all people, just the best at what you do.

So maybe I AM a Fanboy FanGirl to some extent.  That doesn’t mean I’m trading in my DELL and my Android for a MacBook and iPhone… but at the core of their business model, I guess Apple and I have alot more in common than I thought.

Our Values and “Why We Are Different Statement” below tells much the same story.

Why We Are Different

“I decided to form Chicago Home Partner because real estate needs a different approach than many provide in my industry today. This is not only a house – it is a home for you, your loved ones and your family. At the same time it is probably the largest financial decision that most will make in their lifetime.

That is why the governing principles of Chicago Home Partner encompass both analytics and empathy, advice and understanding. Our goal is to take a human approach to buying or selling your home… and we will never take that responsibility lightly.”

~ Amanda McMillan, CEO Chicago Home Partner

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