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Apple Store



Apr.*9, 2005. 01:00*AM
Yorkdale's $61 million facelift opens next week
Apple store won't open till May

Last major reno was in 1997


When Yorkdale Mall spends $61 million renovating and adding new stores, diehard shoppers get excited.

"I heard there's an Apple store coming," says Amy Cohen, 21, a student who visits Yorkdale about once a week.

"I have a Mac fetish, so I'll probably be spending a lot of time there. I went to the store in New York and it was so cool. I spent an entire afternoon there even though I didn't actually buy anything."

The mall with the chi-chi reputation and the highest sales per square foot of any enclosed mall in Canada has the clout to attract major new retailers to Canada. And even though Apple won't be open in time for Yorkdale's official unveiling at 9:30 Wednesday morning — it's set to open in mid-May — the computer and electronics store is the most exciting name on the list of stores set to debut there this spring.

Other new-to-Canada retailers setting up shop at Yorkdale include the Spanish women's fashion retailer Mango, which follows the H&M and Zara formula of up-to-the minute fashions at too-cheap-to-say-no prices; Geox, the Italian shoe brand known for its stylish and technologically advanced "no-sweat" shoes, and Billabong, the clothing label with a youthful, surfer vibe.

A new Sephora store, bigger than the only other Toronto location at Eaton Centre, and the first mall location for the rapidly expanding Canadian yoga wear brand Lululemon will also be meccas for uptown shoppers.

As for the rest of the stores, well, we've seen many of them before. Yorkdale's expansion will add increasingly common fashion retailers H&M, Zara, Tristan & America, Transit, Urban Behavior, United Colors of Benneton, Old Navy, Sunglass Hut and Tommy Hilfiger, among others, to the Yorkdale shopping experience.

Not that there's anything wrong with those stores, but it does appear that Toronto's three major malls now house many of the same retail tenants.

Altogether, there will be more than 40 new stores and 16,700 square metres of new retail space.

So will a trip to the new Yorkdale be romantic at all? What will set it apart from the iconic downtown outpost the Eaton Centre and the value-oriented suburban newcomer Vaughan Mills?

A hard-hat tour of the expansion last week revealed that Yorkdale, which was last renovated in 1997 to add a 10-screen theatre, aims to set itself apart from uppity competition by offering a shopping experience that's sort of like shopping on Bloor St., minus the weather.

"The idea was to create a contemporary, urban shopping experience," says architect Chris Brown, of the Canadian architecture firm MMC International. He gazes up at the soaring glass ceiling on the mall's new wing, which is located where the old Eaton's store once was, on the mall's east side.

"We wanted to recreate the experience of being outdoors," says Brown, explaining the thinking behind the glass ceiling, the largest of its kind in North America.

Suspended by an exterior structure and with a nearly seamless, frameless construction, the ceiling does invite the sunshine of a fresh spring day into the mall. The new atrium rises 18 metres above a wide avenue that's home to multi-level flagships for Old Navy, Zara and H&M.

Existing structures will be updated to match the expansion over the next two years, with new limestone floors, more skylights, and new seating.

Yorkdale's architect aimed to reduce stimulation in the mall's common space. "We're really trying to make the storefronts the predominant element," says Brown.

To do that, the mall worked with retailers to help them create upscale storefronts resembling those on outdoor streets in cities such as New York and Chicago, says Yorkdale's manager, John Giddings.

"If you look closely, the H&M store is slightly nicer than the one on Bloor St." says Giddings, explaining that the Swedish multi-national tweaks its storefronts depending on the surrounding neighbourhood.

Co-owned by one Canada's largest pension funds, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, along with an unnamed institutional investor, Yorkdale was the first fully enclosed mall in Toronto when it opened in 1964.
I hope they open a flagship downtown too, on Bloor or by Eaton Centre.
Apr.*16, 2005. 01:00*AM
T.O. ripe for Apple store
The computer giant is creating buzz and making an big push into retail, riling some of its dealers

But Toronto resellers say they welcome the sleek new shop on the block, writes Daphne Gordon


The countdown is on.

While no official date has been announced for next month's opening of the Apple store in Yorkdale mall, many fans of Macintosh computers and the wildly popular iPod MP3 players are busily planning their initial visit to Canada's first corporate-owned Apple store.

"Can't wait until Apple opens in Yorkdale," says one user at, a site where Canadian users of Macintosh computers meet. "The Apple stores in the U.S. that I've been to (Santa Monica, NYC SoHo) are a league above some of the Apple dealers I've been to here in Toronto."

Canada is clearly the next frontier in the California-based company's aggressive push into retail. The computer maker has opened more than 100 corporate stores, most of them in the U.S., since 2001.

But Apple won't reveal details of the Toronto store.

"It's Apple policy," said a spokesperson from the notoriously secretive company when contacted earlier this week. "We will talk more about the Toronto store when the opening day comes closer," he added.

Yorkdale's manager, John Giddings, says the store is to be located in a vacant space in the existing mall, rather than in the new atrium. It will be about 3,500 square feet and should open in mid-May.

Construction was under way last week at the Apple location across from Second Cup near the mall's south entrance. Surrounded in black hoarding to prevent passersby from peeking in at its top secret design, the store here is expected to follow the brand's trademark airy, white-on-white esthetic.

Cutting-edge retail design is a key part of the brand's cultish appeal, says Gary Allen, webmaster of a site that's all about Apple stores, The minimal stores are designed to invite shoppers to play, touch and learn.

"Apple stores have been described as a library, a public place where you can get hands-on experience with the machines," says Allen, a fan who takes no pay from Apple to operate his site.

"Every computer is connected to the Internet; every computer is fully loaded with software.

"The staff are hands-off. They're there if you want help, they'll give you info if you ask, but you can also check your email, watch online movie clips and test out a graphics program for 45 minutes and no one from the store will tell you to move on."

As well, he notes that each store has a Genius Bar, where the company's biggest computer geeks dispense advice for free.

"The Genius Bar is the most popular section of Apple stores," says Allen. "It's becoming increasingly important as more people buy Apple for the first time. More and more, people are bringing their computers in with them, and they're saying `This doesn't work,' or `Can you show me how to do this on my computer?'"

Apple won't respond to persistent rumours that it plans to open a second location in Toronto some time this year, but online gossip says Apple is in negotiations with the Eaton Centre.

The Yorkdale store will be only the fifth outside of the U.S.; three opened last year in Japan and one in London. (There are a few international stores that look like Apple stores — in Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ecuador, for example — but those stores are not actually owned by Apple.)

Among computer makers, Apple's concept of company-owned stores is unusual. Most count on independent dealers to sell and fix their computer products.

Selling through licensed dealers was Apple's strategy until 2001. But the brand, which increasingly depends on its huge share of the MP3 player market for identity and revenue, is moving away from that model, choosing instead to compete with consumer electronics brands such as Sony, which also has its own storefronts — there are Sony shops in both Yorkdale and the Eaton Centre.

But Apple's speedy move into retail has put it in conflict with the independent retailers that have sold and serviced the company's products for years.

In some U.S. cities, independent dealers have bowed out of the Mac game, finding it too difficult to compete against the hip new Apple stores. In Chicago, for example, where Apple has opened four stores, the number of licensed dealers dropped to fewer than five from more than 20.

And in February, three U.S. law firms launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of a group of dealers, accusing Apple of engaging in unfair practices to draw customers away from independent dealers. The suit accuses Apple of holding back its hottest products, forcing impatient customers to buy direct from Apple, either at bricks-and-mortar locations or the company's online store (

But Allen, of, says there are two sides to the story. He points out some dealers have found that while Apple stores provide competition for retail sales, they also provide more clients for dealers who provide support services such as training and repairs.

Here in Toronto, dealers — there are about five major licensed Apple resellers in the GTA — seem pleased that the Apple has fallen far from the tree.

"I'm personally thrilled that Apple is opening a store here," says Allan Sorensen, manager of North Star Computer at 49 Elm St., which has been focusing on selling and fixing Mac and Mac-related products for seven years.

"I'm looking forward to Apple setting a very high standard for customer service, and that will extend to the rest of us as well," says Sorensen, adding that the store's presence here will draw more attention to the Apple computer than ever before.

And at Carbon Computing, a large Apple dealer at 772 Queen St. E., with many clients in the music and film industries, owner Ron Paley is convinced that his customers aren't interested in shopping at a mall.

"I'm not worried about the Apple store at all," says Paley, who launched Carbon Computing from the basement of his house in 1993. "There's enough business for everyone. It's a choice between urban renewal and big box," he says, noting that Carbon has helped revive its Queen East neighbourhood since it moved there two years ago.

(The other major Apple resellers in Toronto are: Computer Systems Centre, 275 College St.; CPUsed , 488 Dupont St. and Clickon Mac Solutions, 400 Eastern Ave. Unit 3. For locations elsewhere in Ontario, see )

Still, two Ontario dealers have recently shut up shop. First Avenue had been in business in Kitchener for 20 years but closed last month. And last year, B.Mac, a licensed Apple dealer based in Ottawa, closed its store there, as well as its three Quebec locations.

But those closings don't necessarily translate to fear of competing with the Apple store. Reports at suggest First Avenue was plagued with a difficult location and that B.Mac had poor service.

Paley is betting that the closing of First Avenue in Kitchener will leave a gap in the Apple market in southwestern Ontario's "technology triangle." He announced last week that Carbon Computing will open a branch in Kitchener-Waterloo this summer.

Set to open on June 18 in downtown Kitchener, the 3,000-square-foot Carbon store will be modelled after its Toronto cousin, including the popular Carbon Academy, an on-site training facility that offers hands-on courses in such topics as audio production and digital filmmaking.

Some Mac lovers say they prefer the more personal and local service of privately owned retail stores, while others are excited about the new Apple store. A few enthusiasts at are even considering camping out in the Yorkdale parking lot the night before the store's official opening.

"I'm anticipating an early lineup at least," says Allen, who started his site after becoming a regular on the store-opening circuit in California, where there are many Apple stores.

At the opening of the Apple store on Regent St. in London last fall, below-freezing temperatures didn't deter a crowd from camping out all night. More than 5,000 fans were huddled on the street by the time the store opened at 10 a.m.

"It's a social event," says Allen, explaining the phenomenon. "Apple users are a very enthusiastic bunch, and store openings are a way of getting together to exchange information."
Is it as big as the one in Yorkville? That's definitely a nice supermarket.

Today's the grand opening of the Apple store in Eaton Centre, anyone been to it? Any recent rumors about a downtown store? I hope we get something like:
San Francisco

New York Soho



Rancho Cucamonga

or even Santa Monica
May 28, 2005. 01:00 AM
First into Apple store gets his 15 minutes

After camping out for four days and four nights, Allan Sorensen achieved his goal of being the first customer at the new Apple store in Yorkdale Mall.
Sorensen, a long-time user of Macintosh computers, took four days off of his job as manager at North Star Computers to ensure himself a spot at the front of the line on opening day, which was last Saturday.
He beat out about 1,000 people who lined up before the 9:30 a.m. opening of the store, located in the south end of the mall. At its peak, the line snaked through the mall, out the door and along an outer wall.
Apple's sleek retail stores have a reputation for attracting long queues before their openings and because the Yorkdale store is Apple's first corporate-owned retail location in Canada, the buzz was high among local Mac users and fans of Apple's wildly popular portable MP3 player, the iPod.
"I want to be the first customer and I didn't want to take the chance that someone was crazier than me," said Sorensen last Friday, as he sat at a café table outside the store, dressed in a crisp navy suit, green tie, blue Keds and holding a pillow.
He spent his daytime hours sitting at the table, gazing through the glass storefront of the Apple store, watching staff come and go. When he was tired, he simply plopped his pillow on the table in front of him and had a nap.
Since Yorkdale doesn't allow sleepovers, during the evenings Sorensen decamped to a nearby GO station, where he admits he didn't get much shuteye.
But it was worth it, he says, noting that not only was he the first through the doors when the store opened, with much applause by a full cadre of Apple sales staff, he was also the first customer. He bought an iSight, a camera and microphone for video conferences.
Sorensen also became a bit of a celebrity, thanks to a series of photos of him posted on, an online forum site for Canadian Mac users that has more than 5,000 members. Many who had seen the pictures came forward in the line to say hello.
As well, the organizers of Ehmac, who joined the line at about 4 on Saturday morning, interviewed him for a podcast they posted on their site.
But neither swag nor celebrity were Sorensen's intention.
"I did it because I wanted to express my gratitude to Apple for giving my life so much joy by creating a computer for human beings," says Sorensen, in a rare moment of seriousness. Though he describes himself as a shy man, he's bursting with Mac-related one-liners and riddles.
One of his best:
"What do a can of Guinness beer and Tiger have in common?" he asks, referring to the newest version of the Mac operating system, named Tiger.
Only true Mac geeks will know the answer: "They both have a floating widget."
After camping out for four days and four nights, Allan Sorensen achieved his goal of being the first customer at the new Apple store in Yorkdale Mall.
Sorensen, a long-time user of Macintosh computers, took four days off of his job as manager at North Star Computers to ensure himself a spot at the front of the line on opening day, which was last Saturday.
He beat out about 1,000 people who lined up before the 9:30 a.m. opening of the store, located in the south end of the mall. At its peak, the line snaked through the mall, out the door and along an outer wall.

"I did it because I wanted to express my gratitude to Apple for giving my life so much joy by creating a computer for human beings,"

How could any computer user be THIS brainwashed? It's pathetic. Apple marketing has really done a good job on it's target market.
That Chapters site would be perfect for the Apple store. I am surprised Indigo took this long to close it. I think the Indigo Bay/Bloor store is better anyways.
Anyone know where they're going to put the Apple store? I hope it'll have flagship-type status.
I believe it's going into the old J.J. Mugg's location which is now the PCL construction office for the Ryerson Business School. I'm pretty sure it'll have flagship-type status, but I'm not basing that on anything besides its prominent location.
Apple Store at the Eaton Centre: I'm going to bet Level three near the south end (where they have recently reconfigured the space) over the J.J. Muggs location. I think they'll want main mall traffic over Dundas Street pedestrian traffic even if Ryerson is setting up shop there.

Although I could be wrong,

but I



I am.

Yeah to an Apple store for downtown. Would have preferred a non-mall location but better than nothing.
Great news about the Apple store! I think Sears doesn't necessarily have to make a big (or any?) profit at Eaton Centre. It pays for itself with the advertisement of the brand, I think.

Here's an interesting article on the town centre Ikeas that are going to be built in the UK, that would be great in Toronto too.
1bn Ikea bid to furnish town centres with outlets
IKEA, the flat-pack furnishing giant, is planning a £1 billion assault on Britain's town centres, creating thousands of new jobs in the process.

The Swedish chain, which specialises in giant out-of-town outlets, said today it was planning to open ten new city centre stores over the next three years.

Ikea did not reveal details of where it plans to open the stores except to say that the first one will open in Coventry next year.

However, in a double blow to other high street furniture chains, Ikea is also planning to launch an e-commerce home shopping service within the next year. Currently, customers can only browse the firm's goods online, not pay for them.

According to Ikea's UK head Peter Högsted, Ikea has been frustrated by the UK planning process in its attempts to build more stores outside key cities.

"The only way we can expand in the UK is close to the city centres and we have decided to do that," he said.

"Our preferred location is outside cities but we have realised we need to comply with UK planning requirements."

Ikea, which already has 14 UK outlets, is to use Coventry as its launch pad for the new store concept after the company gained permission for a 30,000 square metre outlet in the middle of the Midlands city.

"The Coventry decision is the framework for Ikea going forward," Mr Högsted said.

It is unlikely, however, that most of the city centre stores will be as big as Coventry.

Most are expected to be around half-that size, as city stores would be more expensive to open. That could spell the end for the firm's low-price policy in the longer term.
Apple Store coming downtown, again

New life to an old rumour: ThinkSecret confirms that the Eaton Centre is one of 40 new Apple Store locations slated to open by September.

Woulda gone well in Metropolis, if you ask me. (But Apple neglected to... as usual.)
Widely expected, but now it's official -- signs for the future Apple Store have gone up on the third floor (south end) of the Eaton Centre.
Great news! Where would it go? I can't think of any empty spaces? Unless the Coast Mountain Sports is going away?