By James Wells
SYDNEY: The Apple Centre, located within the cosmopolitan Taylor Square district in Sydney’s CBD, will relocate to new premises at Bondi to avoid growing crime in the suburb and to provide enhanced service to customers.
“The Darlinghurst, Paddington and Surry Hills area is going through quite a lot of change. There has been a dramatic increase in street crime and drug-related crime,” Morgan told current.com.au.
“We have been here for eight years and it has started to encroach on our staff and customers. For the safety of our customers and staff, we would prefer to relocate to a friendly and more accessible location, especially for after hours visitors. We have a lot of students that arrive after 6.00pm and we should be located in an area where their safety is uncompromised.”
The Apple Centre currently has two facilities on Flinders Street and will be closing and relocating its primary store, but will keep open its 75 square metre Academy Store, which will not offer the same training and retail support of the larger store.
“We are reducing our operations to make the Academy Store simply a drop off and pick up centre for service,” said store owner, Ben Morgan.
“It will also retail popular main lines of Apple Computer products and third party accessories. It is possible that we may see the discontinuation of this location, but a firm decision has not been made at this stage.”
Morgan said that one of the reasons for the relocation is the safety of his customers that cannot be guaranteed in the current location.
The 1,200 square metre store in Bondi is expected to include a 30-seat cinema which is also included within some of the larger North American stores including Chicago and New York. But Morgan believes the Bondi store will not follow the standard Amercian Apple Store layout.
“We are not committing to an Apple store fitout like in the US, which is generally a no-holds barred super-expensive experience. We are not going to stupid levels by spending $5 million on internal fixtures and furniture from high profile designers. It will be, however, a fitout to a high standard that will make the shopping experience extremely elegant and enjoyable for our customers.
“Unlike the Apple Stores in the US that use the cinema purely for product presentation, we will also be using this for third party software demonstration as well as demonstrations on our Academy training packages. In the evening, the cinema will be used for documentaries and feature film products made by Academy store customers,” Morgan said.
“We have a lot of customers using our products to make short films and feature films that make it to television, but there are also those that never make it to air or to a festival. We want to take the diversity of those products not broadcast on the major television networks or branded cinemas and deliver that to an open audience. It will be supported by a small café which will also service cold drinks and light food.”
As a result of the changes, Morgan estimates that the business will more than double its workshops involving Apple products and software tutorials from 300 per month to 640. Many of these exclusive services are accessed via an annual membership to the store of $199.