Apple store opens in Richmond, hundreds on hand to witness

If you drove by Richmond Centre Mall on No. 3 road last Saturday morning and saw an endless line up of people around the block, you weren’t looking at the queue for a new Hollywood flick — after all, what big-time movie debuts on a Saturday morning? — No, you were catching a glimpse of the opening of the newest Apple store, and the passion many consumers have for Apple’s products.

The store’s grand opening coincided with the opening of one in Toronto, and made it the  18th store to be built in Canada. The public was invited to check out the new store as well as some of Apple’s newest products. The event was a meticulously managed one, with plenty of mall security guards and even Apple’s own plain clothed security guards on hand to manage the crowd, which must have approached 1,000 by opening time at 9:30 a.m.

The number one item for Mac fans to get? The iPhone 4, of course. Even Mike, of Port Moody, who was the first in line for the opening (he had to arrive at 6 p.m. on Friday morning to earn that distinction, a 13-hour wait), was only interested in the newest iPhone.

“I’m just here for the iPhone, I could care less about the store,” he told Techvibes.

Victor, a Vancouver resident also at the front of the line, was there for the iPhone too. He’s tried to get the phone several times, and decided to pull an all-night camping trip to get it this time.

“This is my fifth try to get it! If I don’t get it this time, I’m giving up!” he said.

Even for customers further back in the line, the iPhone was the catch of the day. Jeetu Patel of Surrey joined the line up at 7:00 a.m. with his sister and 10-year-old niece, and despite the little one’s impatience, his eyes were on the prize.

“She wants me to take her for some Tim Horton’s, but if this line moves, I’ll get screwed!” he said.

Besides the iPhone, there were a few perks to keep the attention of those in line. The first 1,000 people received t-shirts, and the first 250 were permitted to buy a year’s worth of one-on-one support for their existing Apple products; normally, this support is only available for new purchases from the company.

The new Apple store in Richmond is now open to the public at Richmond Centre Mall, at 6551 No. 3 Road.