The first Microsoft retail store on Long Island opened amid much pomp and circumstance at the Walt Whitman Mall on Friday, complete with a free concert by John Legend and Taio Cruz.
The store is the second in the state of New York. During Friday morning’s ribbon cutting ceremony, the company promised to be involved with the community.
“We’re very involved, connected and committed to serving your local community in a way that nobody else has ever done it before,” David McAughan, COO of Microsoft Stores said while giving $250,000 technology grants to the Mentoring Partnership of Long Island and the Children’s Aid Society and a $1 million grant to Junior Achievement.
“This is a prime example of how you can show the residents here on Long Island that investing in them is investing in the future of this region,” Marcos Maldonado, director of development for the Mentoring Partnership of Long Island, said. “What this technology grant will enable us to do is to expand our capacity to serve youth on Long Island.”
Microsoft will also work with Junior Achievement with a job shadow program that will enable to students to learn technology and work skills by watching store employees.
“It’s so important to give children a chance to experience the real world while they’re in school,” Junior Achievement of New York President Joseph Peri said. “It really makes a difference in young people’s lives.”
The real buzz was from the free concert that came later in the day. Terri Bailer of Melville was the first in line for a ticket, and had been waiting at the mall since 9 p.m. Thursday night.
“I wanted to see John Legend, and I live right over here, so I came last night,” she said. “It hasn’t been too bad, they fed us some Panera bread earlier.”
Greg Packer of Huntington had been waiting since 2:30 a.m. “I’ve lived in Huntington all my life,” he said. “It’s great that Walt Whitman is getting this store. I’m now a Microsoft fan.”
On Saturday the celebration will continue with NFL Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, who will be there at 2 p.m. to play Kinect with customers.