Euphoric crowds descended on Broadway Saturday morning for the grand opening of the much-awaited Apple Store.
The line of people waiting to get into the new technology store stretched to Tower Parkway just before the 10 a.m. opening, and still had not fully cleared one hour later. When doors opened, customers zipped inside as blue-clad Apple Store employees cheered them on and handed out black tees with the Apple logo and ‘New Haven’ printed on them.
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At the front of the line was Herbie J. Zampano, a Branford resident who said he had been camping in front of the Yale Bookstore since Tuesday afternoon, despite being moved several times due to construction works.
When asked what brought him out to the store so early, Zampano said he “liked to collect tee-shirts” and “most likely will” purchase a phone or a computer, both of which he currently lacks.
Interviewed inside the store half an hour later, he said he had been pricing different iPhone configurations and would soon be enlisting the aid of staff to compare different Macbook laptops.
“I am here to be a part of the festivities,” he said. “I was accidentally at the grand opening of an Apple Store in New York, and while this is smaller and different, this is just as impressive.”
Behind Zampano was Milford resident Kathleen Francis, who said she had been in line since 5.30 am Saturday. A self-described “Mac-addict”, she said she used to manage all the Apple computers at the News in the late 90s and early 2000s. As well as chatting with employees, she said she would be looking at the new iMac models on display.
“For New Haven economically, it’s going to bring in people, they’re going to hit the other stores, so it wins on a bunch of counts,” she said.
That sentiment was echoed by Ward 22 Alderman Greg Morehead, who was on hand to present the store manager with an Official Citation from City Hall. The store will strengthen the Elm City’s tax base, he said, adding this might help alleviate budget problems City Hall has faced in recent years.
Still, not everyone milling about inside the new store was there to make a purchase. The third person in line, 14-year old Dominic Consigilio from East Haven, said he had arrived at 6 a.m. and “just wanted to come look at [the store].”
He was not the only one. In the first hour, this reporter witnessed five purchases take place, with the vast majority of people in the store simply eager to try out the products on display. (Much of this report was filed from an iMac in the Apple Store).