Microsoft Store has finally arrived in downtown Toronto

Microsoft Canada’s third store in the Greater Toronto Area and ninth in Canada overall opened Thursday at Toronto’s Eaton Centre and is being touted as a “flagship” store despite a slightly smaller retail size and launch.

Approximately 500 people lined up the morning of the grand opening in different pockets throughout the downtown mall – some overnight – according to Larysa Woloszansky, a Microsoft spokesperson.

The Eaton Centre location, the company’s 109th across North America, is smaller at 2,280 square-feet compared to the 3,500 square-feet location at Square One in Mississauga Ont., but has been a long time destination for Microsoft, according to Jonathan Adashek, general manager of communication strategy for Microsoft Stores.

“We’ve known since day one,” Adashek told CDN.  “I’ve been working on this store since before we opened our first one. We knew from the beginning that the Eaton Centre was the place but finding the right location and then the right footprint, it takes a little while.”

The focus now, he said, is to cater to different demographics by providing highly trained representatives, such as having a small business specialist on-site.   According to event organizers, around 50 channel partners attended the event, while the store itself carries at least 20 partner brands.

“We sell Microsoft products, but we also sell partner products,” said Adashek, reaffirming the importance of the channel business. He cited volume licensing as one example where the store would be useful to partners. “We use the store as an opportunity for people to engage with our products but at the same point; we engage with our partners in a wide range of things.”

Microsoft Canada president Janet Kennedy was on hand to address the crowd that had lined up on two levels of the mall to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony and to purchase the Dell Venue 8 Pro 32 GB tablet or Xbox 360 at significantly marked-down prices.

She also gave $1 million in grants to local groups, including the Ontario Science Centre, Youth Employment Services Ontario, Ladies Learning Code and Youth Assisting Youth.

“As part of our opening celebrations, Microsoft is excited to strengthen our ties with the community and give back,” she said.

According to Adashek, his team has received a great reception from Microsoft’s partners.

“We interact with them directly; we tell them what we’re hearing,” he said.  “We try to use our stores to help give feedback in a more direct way.”

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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