Marina Apple Store opens to big fanfare

The frothy-mouthed craze for Apple products combined with Black Friday created a perfect consumer storm in the Marina when The City’s third Apple Store opened.

Hundreds of people lined up along Chestnut Street — one of the Marina’s main drags — waiting for the store to open Friday morning. Crowds had thinned out by midday, but there were still plenty of customers to keep clerks busy.

Apple already had two stores in The City: one at Stockton and Ellis streets downtown and another in Stonestown Galleria. Both opened in 2004.

The new store occupies the former Walgreens site on Chestnut Street near Steiner Street; Walgreens moved over one building to the first floor of the Marina Theater. The Chestnut store is larger than the Stonestown space, but is only a single story as compared with downtown’s two-level store.

And it’s the Marina, so dogs were allowed inside the new store.

The new store is Apple’s 15th in the Bay Area. The company says its 202 stores worldwide saw more than 100 million visitors during the last fiscal year. The Stockton Street store is often jam-packed with downtown shoppers checking out the latest in the Cupertino company’s technology.

Elena Sanchez, who lives in Pacific Heights, called the downtown store “ridiculous” with its crowds as she browsed for a MacBook and possibly an iPod. But despite the lighter crowd on Chestnut, she said, she had some trouble finding a clerk to tell her about the products.

“It’s still hard to wrangle anyone to help me,” Sanchez said.

Ray Mina, a Cow Hollow resident, had quite the different experience, saying it took all of five minutes to buy his MacBook.

“I figured, ‘Hey, maybe there’d be a rare discount on a Mac,’” he said, noting that the store’s opening shared the same date as one of the year’s busiest shopping days.

At least one person may have gotten too liberal with the discounts, as it appeared he was led to a back room in handcuffs by plainclothes security.

dsmith@examiner.com

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