The Company Store
It’s the only part of Apple’s headquarters that isn’t a secret, and Adam Banks remembers it fondly
Apple’s Infinite Loo p campus isn’t open to the public, and even authorized visitors are ushered firmly to and from the department they’ve been invited to. There’s just one area where everyone’s always welcome: the Company Store.
Established in 1993, it predated the Apple Store chain and remained for years the world’s only official Apple store. It was the highlight of my own first trip to Cupertino, in the late 1990s: Phil Schiller’s press event, which I’d flown 5,000 miles to attend, was (unusually) rather dull, but wandering around Infinite Loop with a colleague was exciting – even if we were warned off attempting entry by the not-so-discreet gaze of security guards. At the Company Store, entry seemed almost compulsory, though. Modestly sized and blandly styled, it felt like a museum gift shop, but what mattered was its exclusive range of branded merchandise – bags, mugs, T-shirts, hats – bearing the coveted rainbow-striped logo.
In 2015, unexpectedly, the Company Store closed for the summer and reopened as a full-blown Apple Store. One British visitor on TripAdvisor sniffed that the expanded outlet’s “red T-shirtwearing drones” could no longer sell him “any of that cool Apple swag.” You can, in fact, still buy a $35 Apple pen, a small selection of minimalist apparel, or even an Apple cocktail shaker. But the logos are uncompromisingly monochrome.
As Infinite Loop’s workforce decamps to Apple Park, the Company Store will be reborn once more in the site’s visitor center – separate, again, from the “mothership” where the real work will happen. Spread over more than 10,000 square feet, according to the plans, it’s surely going to be worth a visit: if you never make it any closer to the inside of Apple’s empire, at least you can say you got the T-shirt.
The late, lamented Company Store’s enviable merch.