A tribute to Tekserve, the original Apple store

If you never stepped foot in Tekserve, it’s hard to understand how devastating it was this week to hear that the legendary Apple store in Manhattan is closing later this summer after 29 years. As the Times observed, it was the Apple store “before there was such a thing as an Apple store.” Long before the company’s slick, glass-enclosed stores first opened, before Best Buy and Circuit City and even Radio Shack started selling iPhones and Apple gadgets, there was Tekserve.

I’ll never forget my first visit in 1991, clutching my Mac 512k that needed a reboot. When you walked in, you were asked for the purpose of your visit and handed one of three differently-colored tickets before walking past a wall of vintage radios, sitting on an wooden bench and waiting for your number to appear on the screen of a dusty Mac hanging from the ceiling. If you were thirsty, you could pop a nickel in an old Coke machine and get an old-fashioned glass bottle of the original stuff. When your number was finally called, you sat before an employee who, depending on your luck, could be extremely attentive or unbelievably condescending (or both). After a 20-minute conversation about any subject, from the Singularity to the latest Sandman spinoff comic book, they got the job done.

On my last visit a few months ago, my 7-year-old and I posed in front of my original Mac, got a Coke and a store T-shirt, while he obsessed over the drones and other latest gadgets on display, not knowing that we were saying goodbye.

[Image: courtesy of Tekserve]MB