“It started with one store at Tysons Corner Center in Virginia, just outside of Washington,” Doug Gross reports for CNN. “Ten years and more than 300 stores later, it’s become a retailing venture unique in the world of consumer electronics. The Apple retail store, the stylized and shiny public face of the Cupertino, California-based gadget giant, turns 10 on Thursday.”

“As the 2000s were just dawning, it was far from a sure thing. ‘Around the time Apple started to roll out, Gateway’s products were going the other way,’ said Adam Hanft, CEO of marketing and branding firm Hanft Projects, referring to the PC makers (they of the cowhide-designed boxes) who eventually gave up on their own retail-store model in 2004,” Gross reports. “‘If you go back and look at what all the pundits said, they all thought Apple was crazy to get into the retailing business.'”

Gross reports, “By the end of the 2010 fiscal year, Apple had opened 317 retail stores, 233 in the United States and 84 in Europe, Asia and other countries… Some Apple stores, such as the flagship New York City store on Fifth Avenue, are even design symbols in themselves. That one, open 24 hours a day, is a distinctive 32-foot glass cube.”

“In a 2000 video shown to Apple developers, CEO Steve Jobs strolls through the as-yet-unopened Virginia store, showcasing then-novel features such as the Genius Bar and nooks for children’s activities,” Gross reports. “With nary an iPod or iPhone in sight (the iPod was launched in October that year, with the iPhone following in 2007), Jobs introduced the concept that the stores would be more than just retail space.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “I’m not a genius.” Au contraire, mon ami!

This guy, on the other hand, not so much:

I give [Apple] two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.David Goldstein, Channel Marketing Corp. President, May 21, 2001

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How Apple’s Steve Jobs is revolutionizing Manhattan retail – May 08, 2007
Fortune: Apple Inc. is America’s best retailer – March 08, 2007
How Apple Retail Stores beat Best Buy, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany – December 19, 2006