Being somewhat of an Apple fanatic, any Apple store is going to pique my interest somewhat. Even though I recently ditched my iPhone for an Evo (mostly thanks to AT&T) I have a lot of respect for how Apple markets their products...but this new store was something pretty cool. The new Lincoln Park store is pretty minimalistic in nature and doesn't have a lot of crazy things about it. It's what's outside the store that really spells out cool. Being a frequent CTA commuter, I was familiar with how run down the North and Clybourne Red Line subway stations was...well...run down. Apple not only built a new store but found a way to include the environment around the store into their location.
Apple poured their own money into the renovation of the North and Clybourne stop in Chicago as a small beautification project. Not only is the stop nicely renovated from the outside but its exit directs train passengers into a really cool courtyard area complete with a fountain, tables, chairs and park benches. What's on the other side of this courtyard? A welcoming entrance to the Apple Store. With their contributions to the city's train station, they have essentially built a station that dumps riders right at their store entrance.
The store is fairly open-air in nature and offers a "breeze through" type atmosphere with three different exits. It's not the multi-story massive store like what's found down on Michigan Avenue but more of a place designed as something you could all but walk through on your way to somewhere else. It's like they meant for people to almost feel like they have to at least breeze through the store to get from Point A to Point B.
So much marketing is focused on advertising or digital conversations that the focus often shifts away from the user experience and actually driving foot traffic into a store. With this new store-front, Apple seems to have championed that effort.
In case you were wondering, no I DIDN'T leave there with the new MacBook Air. I'm still an admirer nonetheless.