Store Window Glass Perfection Comes At A Price

December 14, 2013

A component of Apple’s retail stores is designed to be completely invisible, but it takes a lot of work and money to keep it that way. And according to the company hired to polish out scratches, graffiti and dings in the storefront window glass, sometimes Apple doesn’t even ask the cost before authorizing the work. The special low-iron window glass used at Apple’s stores worldwide is an essential design component, and it must always be in excellent condition. So Apple hires Glass Polish Ltd. (UK) to perform work on the windows when it’s damaged by original construction work or later vandalism. The company has subsidiaries in 28 countries around the world, including Unscratch The Surface in the United States. The company’s Web site says it has worked on windows at the Covent Garden (London) store before the grand opening to remove construction damage, repairing it for $8,500 instead of requiring a $41,000 replacement. At the Higuera Street (Calif.) store the company removed graffiti from a $15,000 panel. When the Ridge Hill (NY) store window glass needed major work before the grand opening in 2012, Glass Polish says Apple hired them, “without even asking what it was going to cost!” Visit the company’s main Web site, and watch a company-produced video about their work at the Ridge Hill Apple store.

Read more about the Unscratch The Surface projects at the Higuera Street and Ridge Hill Apple stores.

According to Unscratch The Surface, here’s how they obtained the Ridge Hill Apple store work:

While in New York in June 2012 to do a sample for a 6,300 sq. ft. scratched glass resurfacing job in New Hyde Park at Long Island Jewish Hospital, we received a call from Boston based Shawmut (Design and Construction) builders who had just completed the new Apple store in Yonkers, NY. They had discovered they had a sizable scratched glass problem. The entry of this particular Apple store in Yonkers has a glass curtain wall measuring 50 x 20 consisting of laminated tempered glass panels that came from China. Each panel was 10 ft wide by 20 ft high. If you’ve ever been in an Apple store, you’ve probably noticed the tolerances for everything from the floor to the walls to the ceiling and everything in between are very high. Meaning, they expect and demand perfection in their products and their Apple stores. The thousand square foot 2 inch thick glass laminated curtain wall was no exception.
When we went to do an emergency sample, they asked if we could just stay in Yonkers, NY and keep working thru the entire weekend, without even asking what it was going to cost! I actually asked them if they wanted to know what I was going to charge them! We did stay and worked thru the weekend and into the following week to resurface about 50% of the entire glass surface. When the sun came out, there were large sections of scratched glass all around the 6+ foot. $40,000.00 stainless steel Apple logo. So we went back and worked on those areas before the store opened.

This company photo shows a Glass Polish Ltd. worker at the side window of the Covent Garden (London) Apple store just before the store opened in August 2010.

An Unscratch The Surface vehicle sits outside the Higuera Street Apple store after graffiti was removed from a window.


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