Before the advent of Joint Venture, Ellis said, "We were basically in the same position everybody else was" when it came to support needs. "We could call our (Apple Store) business representative, but we couldn't get in to see someone the same day."
Now, he says, "I can make a same-day Genius appointment, or schedule it for two weeks out."
One other benefit, Ellis said: While Apple Stores already had the aforementioned "business representatives" to deal with enterprise issues, the stores' business teams have been beefed up, making it easier to get enterprise-focused service whenever the Apple Store is open -- even for companies that don't have a Joint Venture account.
The impact of the Joint Venture program and the business teams at Apple Stores on the company's bottom-line is, of course, unknown, as is the degree to which such services have helped the company make inroads into the enterprise sector. Apple doesn't comment on such issues.
But NPD's Baker noted that other companies, such as Best Buy and Microsoft, also offer business support through local outlets. That hasn't helped those vendors make major inroads at big companies, he said, but it could help spur growth in the small- and mid-sized business markets.
"There are a lot of routes to market, but one of them is through the stores, and it's smart of Apple to use that presence to drive that interaction," Baker said.
That approach may require patience on Apple's part, however.
"They weren't the first, and they won't be the last to use local retail to reach out to local businesses," Baker said. "It's been pretty difficult for most companies to get it right. We'll see if they can accomplish it."
The effort has at least one big fan.
"For us," Ellis said of Joint Venture, "it's a really big deal."