Microsoft opens the doors to its first full line retail store in North Carolina Thursday.
The new Microsoft store at the Streets at Southpoint is the 103rd retail center to open since the company opened its first in 2009, a time when the recession hit retailers hard.
Occupying the space previously held by Brookstone, the new Durham store will open at 11 a.m. Thursday after a brief opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. The first 200 people in line will receive tickets to meet and play basketball star Grant Hill on Xbox One. Microsoft will also present $700,000 in software grants to the YMCA of the Triangle, Marbles Kids Museum, Emily Krzyzewski Center and Daniel Center.
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To mark the store launch, Microsoft is offering its Xbox 360 4GB for $99 and several marquee title games at just $10.
Surprisingly, some have asked me what a Microsoft store would sell. I suppose they imagine rows of Windows and Office boxes. But along with the Xbox, shoppers will find smartphones, tablets including the Surface line, and laptops from various top tier manufacturers.
While Microsoft will price match and offer discounts to students and teachers, store manager Robert Helm says the store will aim to be more than just an island of commerce. Microsoft wants the store to be a community resource.
The brick-and-mortar location also gives customers a direct interface for help with software and hardware products, and will host workshops.
Microsoft spokesperson Jonathan Adashek says the store’s “Answer Desk” will endeavor to help customers with whatever problems they may have. An appointment with the Answer Desk is free. If you think your Windows Phone is buggy, they’ll look into it. If a user’s PC has a virus, they’ll purge it. If someone has a question about using Office on an iPad, they will gladly help. If there is a problem they can’t fix, they will assist customers in finding a solution.