Legions of Apple fanatics in and around Madison, Dane County and far beyond may have one of the heart's desires fulfilled later this year when one of the company's retail stores opens at West Towne Mall. That's right, an Apple Store is on its way to Madison, and the hiring process just started.
This location and another (to be located at Bayshore Mall in Milwaukee) will be the second and third in Wisconsin, joining the outlet that's located at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa.
Apple is notorious for playing its cards close to its chest when it comes to its new retail locations, generally announcing their existence and timeline for launching mere days (or weeks) before their doors open. The company has not announced a Madison location yet, in fact, and it's certainly months before the store is scheduled to open. How can it be, then, that word of an Apple Store on the west side of town, is already out there?
Gary Allen of ifo Apple Store -- a blog covering all matters of Apple retail and its enveloping rumors community -- broke the news today, Thursday, Mar. 1. "There's no city more hip and tech-savvy than state-capitol Madison (Wisc.), home to the University of Wisconsin," he wrote. "And all that knowledge generates lots of Mac users, so it's not surprising that Apple will open a store at the West Towne Mall there, the third store in the state when it opens in the fall."
He provides more details about the new location in a chronology of Apple retail openings and those planed for the future, which notes that job listings for the new west side outlet were posted today. There are no positions at any Apple Store to be found in job listings published by West Towne Mall, though. Additionally, an employee at the Apple store at Mayfair Mall said he had no idea about any store opening in Madison, explaining that the company only releases such information on a public basis, and he would find out when everybody else did.
These listings are actually listed by Apple itself, to be found among the job opportunities the company offers at its stores. As of March 1, Apple is currently hiring for several positions for a West Towne location, including store manager, assistant store manager, "Creative," business consultant, inventory control specialist, and Mac Specialist. Sorry, no cashiers, operators or even a "Mac Genius" is currently being sought for a Madison location.
When queried about his knowledge of the store being planned for Madison, Allen said that he thinks it will be based upon a new design that is 30-feet wide and features an all-stainless steel interior. He also says all stores include a "Genius Bar" for Apple technical assistance, and newer stores also come with a "Studio Bar" for creative help.
The opening of an Apple Store in Madison could spell trouble for The MacShop, an Apple retailer and service provider located on Odana Road on the west side of town. Various independent dealers around the country have closed since Apple started opening its stores in 2001, though the company contends that they only add to the overall market for Apple products. The slogan of The MacShop -- "Madison's locally-owned resource for all your Mac needs" -- certainly reflects an awareness of this issue on the part of its owners.
Is it guaranteed that there will definitely be an Apple Store opening at West Towne Mall? No, circumstances can always change. The fact that Apple is starting its hiring process, though, is as good of an indication as any that their plans for Madison are moving forward.