Microsoft moves in

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 2, 2013

Alicia Parikh, 18, from Novi, stayed up all night June 28 in the parking structure at Somerset Collection North to be fourth in line to see the new Microsoft store open and get to meet singer Kelly Clarkson.

Hannah Sweeney, 18, came with her sister and best friend from Williamston, Mich., to be numbers one through three in line.

“I’m a huge Kelly Clarkson fan,” Sweeney said.

Clarkson gave two free concert tickets to the first 1,250 people in line to celebrate the grand opening of the store in Troy the morning of June 28. The first 100 people were included in a meet and greet with Clarkson at 5 p.m. that day before the concert, as well.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stopped by to open the store and award $1 million to local charities, and Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley also spoke briefly at the grand opening.

Ballmer explained that he’s originally from Farmington Hills.

He awarded a $250,000 software grant to Oakland Family Services, a $250,000 software grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Michigan and a $500,000 software grant to the Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan. He awarded an Xbox One to Bloomfield Hills resident Justin Gudeman, 12, also at the front of the line.

“Buy early and buy often,” Ballmer told the crowd.

“We’re happy to finally get in,” said Microsoft spokesman Jonathan Adashek of the store at Somerset. “We were looking for the best spot,” he said. “It’s not an easy store to put together.” There is a smaller Microsoft store that recently opened in Novi, and it is the only other one in Michigan. He said the answer desk at the full-line retail store at Somerset sets it apart.

“Whether it’s a phone or computer, bring it in,” he said. “We don’t care how old it is or where you bought it.”

Troy store manager Tim Thewes said there is a full-time employee based at the Troy store with the title of community development specialist who is charged with providing community outreach. The store has space available for community groups to hold meetings, Thewes said. As part of the community outreach program, Microsoft will transport children from a number of schools in metro Detroit to the store on a regular basis to see and use the latest technology.

“Community outreach is something we’re very proud of,” he said.

The Microsoft store is located at Somerset Collection North, 2800 W. Big Beaver. Call (248) 205-5980 for information.