Local Apple store opens in Bakersfield for first time

Steven Martin

Merritt Holloway, Reporter

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The grand opening of the Apple Store in Bakersfield was greeted by fans waiting to become one of the first to purchase the iPhone 5.

On Sept. 21 at the Valley Plaza as the time approached 8 a.m., many blue-T-shirted Apple employees, along with customers, began chanting a countdown.

When the time came, the store opened to excited customers and employees shouting and high fiving each other.

“It’s amazing,” said Bakersfield native Augustin Sanchez, “Before I had to go to Visalia or Northridge.”

Sanchez is a first-year Bakersfield College digital art student. He has visited other Apple stores but plans to come here a lot. “I want to get the iPhone 5. I already have the iPhone 4, and I want to upgrade.”

Sanchez has been in line since 4 a.m. “They have a separate line for the iPhone 5, and they’re handing out tickets to make sure that you’re getting an iPhone 5.” He’s getting a black 16 gigabyte model.

Juan Sevilla, a first-year musician in the BC drumline and computer science major at CSUB, had been in line since 6 a.m. “I think it’s great because all the Apple stores are so far,” he said.

Sevilla has visited both of the Sherman Oaks and Santa Monica Apple stores.

He owns 5 Apple iPhones including the iPhone 4, and was here to purchase the MacBook Pro. “Just the standard version, nothing too fancy,” he said.

Valley Plaza mall marketing manager Kristi Jackson handles the events and activities that go on in the common areas of the plaza.

“This grand opening is also my baby,” she said. “People began lining up here at 9 last night.”

People were camped out at various entrances so they could consolidate them to the Macy’s entrance. As the store opened there were about 350 people in the three lines. The line in front of the store held about 100 people.

“I’m not sure the capacity of the store. You’ll have talk to Apple, but unfortunately right now they’re not giving interviews,” she said.

Record producer Bob Fisher came up from the San Fernando Valley last night. He’s been in line since 6 a.m. He drove up because he thought the Los Angeles lines would be too long, and that the iPhone 5 would sell out too quickly.

“The whole world is lined up for an iPhone 5 today,” he said. “A grand opening on phone day is a great idea.”

He has three Apple computers in his home and is a self-proclaimed “iPad addict.” He said that online the iPhone 5 sold out in one hour, and that 2 million were sold in 24 hours and were backordered.

Bakersfield born Jennessica Sanchez came out of the store with a white Apple box. Inside was one of the promotional T-shirts.

She said she was about 41st in line, and had gotten there about 5:30 a.m. She came to support her boyfriend who just began working there. He applied online about a month ago.

She doesn’t own any apple products, but her boyfriend is an avid Apple user, owning three Apple laptops and various other Apple devices.

She said he’s not supposed to divulge information about what he does at Apple and that it is “top secret.” Then in a light hearted way she said “I don’t ask; he doesn’t tell.”

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