Microsoft opens first Hawaii retail store

Jun. 13, 2013 | 1 Comment

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here for more pictures from the grand opening festivities.)

BY AMY BUSEK / abusek@staradvertiser.com

Microsoft Store employees celebrate the grand opening of a new location at Ala Moana Center on Thursday, June 13. (Photo by Kat Wade, Special to the Star-Advertiser)

Microsoft Store employees celebrate the grand opening of a new location at Ala Moana Center on Thursday, June 13. (Photo by Kat Wade, Special to the Star-Advertiser)

Following speeches from Microsoft representatives and the presentation of a hefty check to local organizations, Honolulu’s first Microsoft Store at Ala Moana Center was revealed just after 11 a.m. Thursday, June 13.

Press and special guests were granted immediate entry, while thousands of concert hopefuls were let in slowly to receive their long-awaited tickets to tonight’s show featuring Seattle-based Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Utah band Neon Trees.

Last night, fans were corralled into a fenced-off area on the second floor parking lot at Ala Moana near Macy’s and Shirokiya by crowd control workers hired for the event by Microsoft and mall security. The first 2,500 people in line will get free tickets to the Kakaako Waterfront park concert; the first 200 people were given wristbands that allow them to meet Neon Trees.

Kila Hoomana, 17, left, and Chris Morland, 17, right, do the BING test in the parking lot with Garrett Kam, center, before Microsoft celebrated its grand opening at Ala Moana Center on Thursday, June 13. (Photo by Kat Wade, Special to the Star-Advertiser)

Kila Hoomana, 17, left, and Chris Morland, 17, right, do the BING test in the parking lot with Garrett Kam, center, before Microsoft celebrated its grand opening at Ala Moana Center on Thursday, June 13. (Photo by Kat Wade, Special to the Star-Advertiser)

Once inside the store, customers checked out new Microsoft products, many buying the Microsoft RT tablet, which was discounted $100 for the grand opening and included a free keyboard.

Haley McDonald, 17, successfully made her way into the store and received her ticket by 11:15 a.m. The Kailua resident stood in front of a screen equipped with a sensor toward the back of the store, playing the popular game “Fruit Ninja” by slashing her arms wildly through the air.

“I’m super excited,” said McDonald, who arrived at the mall at 7 p.m. yesterday.

There were still tickets left for the concert just before noon, according to one employee. But it might not be enough for the 300-plus people still waiting in line, some who had been there since 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The first in line slap hands with new Microsoft employees as they head to pick up their concert tickets. (Photo by Kat Wade, Special to the Star-Advertiser)

The first in line slap hands with new Microsoft employees as they head to pick up their concert tickets. (Photo by Kat Wade, Special to the Star-Advertiser)

The organization of the crowd was lacking, said Joann Yosemori, who got in line at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday with her daughter and her daughter’s friend. They made it to the front of the parking lot at 11:45 a.m., but noted there were people who arrived earlier than them now behind them in line.

“There used to be three lines but they all sort of converged into one so there’s no sense of organization,” Yosemori said. “When we came here, they said they had enough tickets for everyone, so let’s see if they’re true to their word.”

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