Gary Allen, an ordinary guy, retired EMS dispatcher, and world traveler who shared his insights about Apple’s stores worldwide, died Sunday from brain cancer at the age of 67.
Writers at TechCrunch and The Washington Post hailed Allen’s attention to Apple’s stores, which he detailed at his blog that has now been discontinued, as an example of a singular and entertainingly articulated passion for the company’s choices in architecture and its courteous, well-trained store staff.
Allen shut down his blog in March after his diagnosis, choosing to spend more time with his family in his last days.
Apple does pay exquisite attention to design, and that goes for its retail stores all over the world. Whether in thriving city centers, surrounded by an interesting urban streetscape, or in mundane malls, Apple stores benefit from the company’s care in layout, design, and staffing.
Allen in many ways was an unusual “fanboy” among many in the (often lampooned) Apple fanboy base because of his unique appreciation of its stores even more than its products.
“Allen didn’t care so much about Apple’s new products (though he bought many of them),” writes Michael S. Rosenwald in the Washington Post. “He cared about the stores, the sleek and often innovative ways Apple presented itself to the world — the winding staircases, the floor-to-ceiling glass, the exposed brick. … The history of Apple’s global conquest is stamped in Allen’s passport.”
Allen had a special appreciation for the stores’ employees, and the behind-the-scenes work of Apple employees responsible for the company’s products.
“Thank you Gary Allen, for reminding us that it’s the little things in life that matter,” writes TechCrunch’s Drew Olanoff. “Even if those little things reside in a happy little store that holds the hopes and dreams of so many of us in the technology world. Your sharp insights will live on.”