Store Expansion Will Also Evolve The Genius Bar

September 11, 2012

As part of Apple’s dual missions to expand its retail stores and improve technical support, the company plans to move the Garden State Plaza (NJ) store to a larger space in the mall, equipped with the chain’s first-ever double-row Genius Bar. The new arrangement is the latest iteration of Genius Bar efficiency improvements that began last November when Geniuses began using iPads instead of laptops to handle service appointments. The Garden State store opened in February 2006 in a 30-foot wide space, the standard sizing at the time. But now overcrowded, tipsters say the store will move two spaces away to the former Charlotte Russe store, nearly tripling the store’s square-footage. Inside, there will be two Genius Bars parallel to the rear wall, one behind the other, allowing 360-degree access. Apple first tested a “floating” Genius Bar at the Los Gatos (N. Calif.) store last July to further mobil-ize its Geniuses. The standard Genius table was rotated 90-degrees to the rear wall, and storage drawers were installed in the rear wall. The next step came just two weekends ago when the expanded Bellevue Square (Wash.) store opened featuring yet another configuration: the Genius Bar table stretches nearly the entire width of the store, and is set parallel to the rear wall but about 20 feet away. The usual location of the Genius Bar is occupied by training and product set-up tables. All the new variations allow more table access, especially in narrow stores that don’t allow a longer Genius Bars. So far, the longest Genius Bar is at the Amsterdam (Netherlands) store, a single 82-foot long table along a wall that is 165 feet long.

At the back of the just-expanded Bellevue Square (Wash.) store, the location of the Genius Bar and training/set-up tables have been transposed to create more stand-up room. The rear stainless steel wall has drawers containing Genius Bar tools, supplies and other equipment. The future Garden State Plaza store will advance the above configuration by installing dual Genius Bars.

The 30-foot wide Garden State Plaza store will move to a wider and larger space, possibly during 2013.

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