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What the Apple store's imminent opening means to Spokane.

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Every time I walk by, it gets a little clearer. Last time, it had some kind of paper over it, but you could still make out the curves; by the time you read this, it could be lit up on its wall of stainless steel, high above Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.

Yeah, I’m talking about the new Apple Store set to open soon.

When I look up at that iconic logo, I see hope — a feeling that America is still great and will bounce back from this miasma of stagnation we’ve been living with for two years now.

Apple is the perfect poster child for a better future. The Cupertino-based company has been about the only good news on Wall Street for a while now, with its iPhone, iPad and iWhatever-they’ll-dream-up-next.

I’ve worked on Apple machines since grad school in the late-1980s, marveling when I had to replace my hard drive and I found out I could get one that would hold 40MB! (Today, the thumb drive on my keychain holds a gigabyte.) I’ve always liked that the company values the power of human creativity. Steve Jobs has said he brainstormed the Macintosh while taking a typography class at Reed College down in Portland. You can see the elegance of an ancient serif font in the design aesthetic that still defines Apple.

A creative mind can take you a lot of places; a lot of them working together can bring America out of this recession. It’s well documented that we don’t build a lot of stuff anymore, but we still dream up better mousetraps than the rest of the world. We need the creativity of our people to develop the next technologies that will power the economy of the future.

I’m also proud that Apple judged Spokane to be sufficiently dynamic to locate here. Everyone who has worked to make downtown Spokane what it has become today can take some credit. A decade ago, nobody would have dreamed we’d be landing one of the most sought-after retailers on the planet — everyone was just hoping the district would still be in the retail business come 2010.

Maybe slow and steady wins the race, as, even though these are tough times everywhere, Spokane seems to be riding out this recession better than a lot of places. So despite the downturn, let’s savor the moment.

I also want to know this: Will it make that trademark sound — “Bauummm” — when they open the doors and log into Spokane for the first time?

Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the Editor and Publisher of The Inlander.

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