After successfully rolling-out its retail concept to cities across the United States, technology giant Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is opening its first store location in Canada at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall.
The grand opening is Friday, Nov. 16 and will include the opportunity to play Xbox Kinect with Wayne Gretzky as well as a performance from the band Train, but ITBusiness.ca got inside early for a sneak-peek. With a bright and airy layout surrounded by a video ribbon, the store features stations displaying an array of Microsoft hardware and software products, as well as Microsoft’s OEM partners. All the laptops and desktops are touch-enabled to take full advantage of Windows 8.
Windows Phone 8 devices are available for purchase and activation with Canadian carriers, and there’s also an Xbox station where shoppers can sample the latest Xbox games. Of particular interest to small business owners will be the small business station. Staffed by a Microsoft small business specialist, SMB owners that stop in can learn about the latest Microsoft business-focused offerings, and get advice on what hardware and software could be best suited to their particular business needs.
We spoke with Peter Harrington, Eastern US market manager for Microsoft retail stores, about Microsoft’s retail strategy when it comes to the SMB, and what business owners can gain by visiting the Microsoft store.