Too Late?

Apple Store EmployeesAugusta’s finally getting an “official” Apple Store, but is it too late?

ifoApple Store reported yesterday: “All of Georgia’s Apple stores are clustered within a 27-mile circle north and east of Atlanta, but not for long. Apple will open a retail store at the Augusta Mall in that city, 125 miles east of Atlanta. The 1.1 million square-foot mall along Interstate 20 is operated by General Growth Properties, and features 134 shops. The mall completed a Main Street-type expansion and renovation (The Augusta Promenade) last month, where Apple could open by July 2009.”

Additional confirmation can be found on the Apple US Jobs site where it lists Augusta, GA has a new store.

peachmac_homeI talked about the Apple Retail Void in this region almost two years ago. But it wasn’t Apple that stepped up to fill the need. PeachMac saw an opportunity in the Augusta, GA area and opened up an awesome store in Columbia County just a couple of months ago. Darryl, who is – I assume – an employee of some degree at PeachMac, wrote in a forum regarding the Apple Store news:

“Just wanted to point out that Apple is already in Augusta. PeachMac is one of the country’s largest Apple dealers, and recently opened a store on Washington Road in Evans. We stock more than twice as many items as an Apple company store and no appointment is needed for service. “

I’m glad to see Apple finally taking notice of our community, but I hate that it’s coming so soon after PeachMac has setup shop here. I think the two stores can and will coexist. But I wonder how many people who are looking to buy an Apple product will go directly to an Apple Store instead of buying from a retailer that is more invested in the community they are serving? We’ll see… The new store could be open as early as July 2009.

Jaywalk on 15th? That’ll be $140, please.

Map image

Jaywalking on 15th Street will cost you.
Starting Thursday, if you’re caught jaywalking on 15th Street, it will cost you $140. It’s a common site on 15th street. Jaywalking. And it’s taking place on one of the busiest streets in Augusta. The speed limit is 35 mph and 25 mph on Laney Walker Blvd. Since the accident a month ago, that left an MCG student dead. MCG Police Officers are patrolling the crosswalks at 15th and Laney Walker Blvd and 15th and Harper from 7-9 in the morning and 3:30-5:30 in the afternoon. They’re there to help people get across the streets. But the officers still see a lot of jaywalking.

Rather than working to improve pedestrians’ ability to cross 15th Street, the City of Augusta/MCG(?) has decided that it makes more sense to punish those that jaywalk. If you’ve ever tried to cross the street at a crosswalk downtown, you’ll find that cars rarely stop to allow pedestrians to cross, even though it’s a state law (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91). Can you blame pedestrians, who likely have no other choice but to cross the street when and wherever possible?

Even though safety officers are present during peak times, it doesn’t change the fact that crossing 15th Street is dangerous. The City and/or the Medical College of Georgia needs to do something to improve pedestrian safety in this high traffic area. A pedestrian bridge of some sort seems like it would make the most sense. If pedestrians had a safer way to cross the street, they probably wouldn’t resort to crossing illegally.

Getting Local with Twitter

twitterRecently I started an experiment on Twitter. I know that I’m not the only web/design geek in the area, so I decided to use Twitter to get to know some folks in the area. Using Twitter’s people search, I looked for people in and around Augusta, GA. The result? I’m not alone, and while Twitter use in and around Augusta is next to null, there are some pretty interesting folks that I’m glad I decided to follow.

What next? Well, my hope is that Twitter will grow in popularity in the area and it’ll be a means to growing a real life social network/community here in the area. Right now the tech/creative community is rather fragmented and the only organization that caters (sort of) to us is the Augusta Advertising Federation. Its focus tends to be more traditional media-centric. There is also the newly formed Augusta Developers Guild, but it’s focusing more on Software Developers/Programmers.

An Apple Retail Void

Apple Retail Map*sigh* So many Apple retail stores, and yet, the nearest stores to the Augusta, Georgia area are at least two hours away. Apple now has over 170 retail locations globally, and a majority of those are in the continental United States. Augusta (specifically Columbia County) or even Columbia, SC would make prime locations for an Apple Store, and yet we’re not feelin’ the love.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are lots of other “Apple Retail voids” in the country… some much worse than in our area… but I think Apple’s missing a big opportunity in our area. Ours is filled, and I use that term loosely, by a dedicated Apple section in a CompUSA.

  • Columbia County is one of the fastest growing counties in the State of Georgia.
  • The 2005 population was 103,812 and growing quickly.
  • The median income for a household in the county is around $55,682, and the median income for a family is around $61,232.
  • More County facts: We have grown from 9,525 in 1950 to more than 100,000 in 2004. Rapid growth has transformed this county from a rural neighbor of Augusta to the major suburban county in the second largest metropolitan area in Georgia. There are many reasons for our rapid growth (65% during the ’80s and more this decade) – a growing and diversified job market, a premier school system, affordable land, open spaces lending an air of the countryside, and a stable, conservative county government. Columbia County is predominantly residential and includes a highly-skilled workforce. Household income levels rank third among Georgia’s 159 counties.

Please, please, please, Apple… consider making a home here.

Masters Week

Traffic was heavier than usual this morning, which can mean only one thing: the Masters is here. I drove by the main entrance to the Augusta National and parking lots along Washington Road were seeing pretty impressive activity. I’m so glad I don’t have to be anywhere near that area this week… it’s going to be a madhouse trying to get in and out of the National Hills area.

Even if you’re not a golf fan, it’s worth it to at least see the course once in your life. (I went in 2001.) Of course, seeing as tickets are going for anywhere from $2500 on up… it’s probably not feasible for most people. I was lucky enough to marry into a family that’s had tickets since the 60’s – when the club had to basically beg people to come to the tournament.

UPDATE: Looks like my boss got two Practice Round tickets for tomorrow. Too cool!