You may have seen a Microsoft store in your community and I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they sell a wide range of computers, tablets, phones, video games, and accessories. When I was asked to attend a webinar and visit a Microsoft store by The Motherhood, I’m not sure what I expected. I did not expect that Microsoft stores are becoming social spaces for learning and playing.
I visited the store at the Rockingham Mall in Salem, NH. I had seen the Microsoft Store in Boston, so I was surprised to see that this store is even bigger with plenty of space to move around and a wealth of gadgets to try out and explore.
If you are a Microsoft user, whether it’s a PC, tablet, phone, or gaming console, you can pop in for technical support and training. It doesn’t matter where you bought your equipment. You can also call ahead to make an appointment. While I was there, one of the guys on staff taught me a few Windows 8 tricks I didn’t know. I was impressed to see that he not only knew Windows 8, but could chat knowledgeably with me on gaming with Xbox 360 and Kinect, as well as the Windows phone.
Like, I said, none of this may come as a surprise, but what I found exciting is that they also offer classes, summer camps, Girl Scout and Boy Scout badge opportunities (the Salem store has Microsoft patches as well), and even special activities for toddlers. Every single one of those offerings is free. The Salem store hosts Minecraft Mondays where kids can come in and dig/collect/build to their desire, and becomes quite a hotspot for tweens and teens on Friday nights where they have multiple gaming spots in the store and even in the mall hallway out in front.
But even if you don’t want to hang out with your kids on Monday and Friday evenings, the store may have something to offer. The room above is a space that can be used for community meetings, private classes, and even birthday parties. Yep. You can bring your kids, their friends, and even pizza and cake in. The kids can enjoy games on the giant screen back there, as well as a couple of other stations in the store. The space is flexible with tables/benches for meetings and trainings, and open space for other activities. While I was there, they were laying out rubber floor tiles for the toddler program. If you’re wondering how much it costs to host a birthday party or meeting in the Microsoft store, I’d like to tell you that it’s $100 an hour, just to discourage you from booking anything. I’d by lying, though, because that’s free, too.
Microsoft is really hoping that their retail stores are more than just a place to buy a computer or phone. They are looking to build community spaces where people can come together to learn and play. So far, it looks like they are succeeding.
Want to connect with the Microsoft Store? Here are some links to get you started:
- Microsoft Store Locator page: http://content.microsoftstore.com/Home.aspx
- Microsoft retail store Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MicrosoftStore
- Microsoft retail store Twitter account: https://twitter.com/microsoftstore
- Microsoft retail store Pinterest page: http://pinterest.com/microsoftstore/
Disclosure: I am part of a compensated campaign to learn more about the Microsoft store. There was no promise of a positive review and the opinions contained in this post are my own.