8 AM walking into a mall you would expect the silent blast of AC and a few mall walkers striding in orthopedic shoes and track suits. Not Today. I was greeted by Dub-step remixes of our favorite 80’s throwbacks and Top 40 pop pulsed. Technology enthusiasts gathering since 5AM waited for the grand opening of Microsoft Store #22, the very first Microsoft Store in Florida. My team went early and snagged a primo front and center spot for me. Mad Tweeting, Facebooking and blogging… I could barely keep up. Microsoft has buzz!
Rolling through the crowd was a mobile challenge station – “Smoked by Windows Phone”. The challenge to put other smartphone to shame while entertaining the ever growing line that snakes around the mall. Microsoft puts $1000 on the line if you could beat a Windows Phone at doing everyday tasks. But how’s this – $25 Microsoft Store gift card just for showing some Windows Phone love? And I love my Windows Phone!!
9:35 AM the show began!! Community Partners including, Boys and Girl Club and YMCA of Orlando received 1.5 million in technology funding from Microsoft Store. Talk about being the new giving neighbor!
10, 9, 8, initiated countdown. I caught of glimpse of some slack mouth “geniuses” watching the ribbon cutting from the Apple Store two storefronts down from the hottest spot in Florida. Geniuses indeed!!!
AM WOOSH!! the curtain drops from in front glass windows revealing a sea of Microsoft employees in primary colored shirts jamming to the DJ cranking tunes. Cheers over took the music leaving only the resonating base. The line begins to move and I have chills of excitement to be part of something so special. I’m #20 to walk in the sea of technology and all things Microsoft.
Inside the packed store we are given Swag bags with Microsoft T-shirts and goodies like Camelback Thermos and screen cleaner. The first 200 people including myself are given a sparkly green wrist band for a meet and greet with Flo Rida on Saturday. The other 1230 are given 2 tickets each for the concert.
The entire store has a video wall that wraps around like a banner. It’s lit up with each employees Xbox Live avatar and confetti as the music is still pumping bass beats. The latest and greatest PCs, Xbox Games, and Windows Phones are set at various hands on stations. Skype has an amazing full demo of connected webcams to various other Microsoft stores where you can interact with other customers. The back of the store has the newest accessories for phones, PCs and Xbox. Since I was given a $25 gift card in line I naturally feel required to spend it. Customers also received 20% off for the grand opening! I find a pink Lumia 900 gel skin I quite like for $19.99 and go to purchase. While ringing me up, I’m offered another gift card and I hear those $100 Nokia Monster Purity ear buds calling my name. All together I spent $65 and got the Purity ear buds in white and an Incipio Pink gel skin.
To wrap up my day I attended a VIP tour of the Microsoft Store with more snazzy swag and got my hands on a Samsung 7 Series tablet with Windows 8. The day was packed with activities and the store was at capacity for most of day! Overall, well done Microsoft Store and welcome to the block new kids!