Apple has hardware stores all across the country. So does Microsoft, to a lesser extent. What about Google? The sultan of search does not have a huge brick-and-mortar presence—it has some pop-up stores here and there, and retail locations inside other stores, but it does not have a flagship location of its own. That might be changing.
Citing unnamed sources Chicago Tribune says Google is putting the pieces in place to open a two-story flagship store in the Fulton Market district in Chicago, Illinois. Should Google successfully finalize the lease, the two-story store would span a bunch of connected buildings on W. Randolph Street, comprising a total area of nearly 14,000 square feet.
The store would be in the same general location as its Midwest office headquarters. Google already employs around 900 people at that location, and adding a large flagship store to showcase its hardware would see it add even more workers in the area.
It is a good time for Google to start thinking about brick-and-mortar stores of its own. The company has been growing its hardware business. For example, in the smart speaker market, it is now growing at a faster clip than Amazon, notching 5.8 million Home speaker sales in the second quarter of 2018 versus 4.1 million Amazon Echo device sales.
In addition to setting up shop to showcase hardware, Google is also reportedly planning to add more than 100,000 square feet of office space to bolster its Midwest headquarters.