Thursday, October 9, 2014

Microsoft retail store opening Oct. 18 in SouthPark

Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on its first full-scale retail store in Charlotte, as the computer company prepares to open its SouthPark store Oct. 18.

The 2,261-square-foot store will be Microsoft's 104th retail location. The company has had a kiosk in SouthPark mall for years, but this is a fully-enclosed retail store - more like Microsoft's competitor and forerunner in the retail space, Apple stores.

Mecklenburg building permits show the store cost more than $4 million to renovate and build out. Microsoft has been investing heavily in its retail strategy, with plans to open 10 more stores before Black Friday and build a Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City.

The company has been training workers for its new SouthPark store for the past several weeks. Jonathan Adashek, Microsoft's general manager for communications strategy, visited Charlotte from Microsoft's Redmond, Washington headquarters Wednesday to prep for the opening. The Streets at SouthPoint in Durham has North Carolina's only other store.

A Microsoft store making college students smile
The first 1,500 customers in line for the 11 a.m. Microsoft store opening on Oct. 18 will receive two tickets for a Kelly Clarkson concert the following day, Sunday, Oct. 19.

I talked with Adashek for a little while Wednesday. Here are a few things he said to expect about the Microsoft store.
  • Expect a "curated selection" of the best devices made by Microsoft and other hardware makers, including laptops, Xboxes, computers, Windows phones and Surface tablets.
  • Come with any broken or malfunctioning device, anytime, and the Microsoft store's "Answer Desk" will do their best to fix it for you, no matter where or when you bought it.
  • The store will have a heavy emphasis on providing good customer service and well-trained employees. Microsoft is trying to build human connections people who have viewed the company as a faceless utility-like provider since the beginning of computing.
  • A panoramic video wall wrapped around the store's interior.
  • Two 96-inch TVs set up for people to play Xbox.
  • Every product with a screen will have a touch-screen.
  • The store will emphasize community involvement and events, with free computer classes, videogame tournaments and meeting space. To get an idea of what to expect, take a look at the event lineup at the Durham store this week:

    Thursday, October 9
    3:00 PM Teen Game Day/Computer Lab at the Library
    6:00 PM Easy ways to collaborate via the cloud
    Sunday, October 12
    1:00 PM Windows 8.1 Workshop
    Monday, October 13
    4:00 PM Office 365 Fundamentals
    5:30 PM Excel 101
    8:00 PM Microsoft Madden Mondays
    Wednesday, October 15
    6:00 PM Junior Game Developer Night
    Thursday, October 16
    3:00 PM Teen Game Day/Computer Lab at the Library



Unknown said...

Long overdue! Can't wait to see it live and in person. Surface Pro 3 FTW!!!!!