Interview: Griffin's first ever retail store comes to London

We talk to Griffin abbots its new store at Westfield shopping centre
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PCR talks to Jackie Ballinger, Head of PR for Griffin, about the company's interactive store.

Griffin has come a long way from its humble beginning on the kitchen table of founder Paul Griffin in Nashville. The company started with a simple idea, unheard of at the time – a cable that could connect an original Apple tower to a PC monitor. Now, the company has crossed the pond to the UK with its first ever retail store in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

How much has Griffin grown over these first 20 years?
Most people are familiar with Griffin as it currently is but our background is with our founder Paul Griffin who was involved with the Apple community from early on. He made these simple solutions for himself and friends, sold them online and then eventually to Apple itself. First it was adapters for different purposes, then the iPod came along, then smartphones and it’s just snowballed from there.

Through this growth, the company has entered a number of different markets. How difficult was this?
It’s been both exciting and challenging. When the iPhone was released, it was a natural transition for us but it was a big one because there’s such a huge difference between the MP3 and smartphone markets. Then last year we started the B2B division and it’s been this whole new experience for us because you start to look at things differently and discover new solutions.

What was the motivation behind opening the UK store?
I think the global audience of it is what attracted us – especially the Olympics. Westfield were expecting ten million people walking by here en-route to the games, so the foot traffic alone was an opportunity not to be missed.

The store itself is very interactive. How important was that to the company?
It’s one thing we wanted the store to do – allow people to come in and test the products for themselves first hand. We’ve done a bit of that in-house with our user research department, but nothing is as good as just putting it out there and letting people use it. It’s just a reflection of who we are as a company – anyone that has a product idea can submit. It doesn’t matter if you work in the trucks, in the warehouse or even in accounts.

What are the aims of having the first Griffin retail store?
We’re aiming to reach as many people as possible. Right now, people know of us primarily as that company who made that specific device or accessory, and, I think we’re just trying to take it to the next level. We want people to know the full extent of what Griffin has to offer.

Did that have an influence towards the design of the store?
Oh, definitely. We just wanted to make it as inviting as possible. Not everyone who walks by is going to be familiar with Griffin, so we wanted to introduce them to the brand by inviting them inside to check it all out and try all of the demo sections. We designed the store with the mentality of “We are Griffin, this is what we do.”

Are there any plans for more stores in the future?
That’s definitely something we have considered. Right now, we’re working on a trial basis, just to see what happens really. It’s been a perfect chance for us to figure out what the store of our dreams would be. So, it’s been a lot of fun and I think it would be really easy to translate it to another location. Everybody wants a store back in the states, we had folks back in Nashville saying “I can't believe you guys opened a store in London first” so it probably would have to be Nashville, but it really depends on how this goes.

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