Apple lands in Mall of Georgia
Computer store is fourth in metro area, but first in Gwinnett

BUFORD - It took a while for an Apple store to make its way to Gwinnett County - a little over five years since the company opened its first retail store in Georgia, actually.

But it took a little less than 11⁄2 hours on Saturday to give away 1,000 free T-shirts to the first customers through doors of the new Mall of Georgia store.

In fact, between 450-500 people were waiting in line for the store to open at 10 a.m., said Store Manager Elizabeth Mercer.

"Apple people tend to be fanatics," Mercer said.

Brittany Lloyd of Lawrenceville didn't refer to herself as a fanatic, but the iPhone and iPod owner did say she as an Apple person.

"We got the e-mail (announcing the store was opening) and came right over," Lloyd said.

The store, however, wasn't just filled with Apple lovers on Saturday. There were also plenty of curious passersby looking around and time-wasters using the free internet.

Brad Ogden said he's traditionally used Microsoft Windows products and hadn't had much of a chance to play around with Mac equipment. That's changed now that he has a store a little closer by.

"I wasn't about to drive over to Atlanta to check it out," the Buford resident said.

There are three other locations - Lenox Square Mall, Perimeter Mall and North Point Mall - in the metro Atlanta area.

Lloyd said before the Mall of Georgia store opened it hadn't been a huge hassle for her to get to an Apple store, but having one closer by certainly isn't a bad thing.

"Lenox wasn't too far, but this is definitely closer, more convenient," Lloyd said.

For many Apple owners, it's not so much about the shopping as it is the support. The Mall of Georgia store will offer customer service options like the Genius Bar, which provides advice, insight and technical support for Apple users, and workshops, which help teach customers the intricacies of their new devices.

"I've never really had any problems with my computer, but if I did it's nice to know there's a store so close," said Dacula resident Hank Tullis.