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LI's first Microsoft store opens Friday at Walt Whitman mall

Microsoft is opening its first LI store on

Microsoft is opening its first LI store on Friday (9/28) inside of the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington. Inside there store is a theater for training and community groups, and a space to play kinect. Along the entirety of the store lie telivisions mounted on the walls to allow customers to use gaming products like the Xbox. Along with usable PCs for customers, there is also a section of the store dedicated to Microsoft's phones. Microsoft's aim is to create a place where consumers can come and experience the various products, and learn how to use new products. (September 27 2012) Credit: Johnny Milano

Microsoft opens its first Long Island store on Friday, continuing its push to connect with customers by providing a hands-on, face-to-face experience.

The store, at Walt Whitman mall in Huntington Station, takes its bow with a grand opening at 11 a.m., followed by celebrity performances by John Legend and Taio Cruz in the evening. Hall of fame running back Curtis Martin will be playing Kinect with customers at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The purpose of the 3,676-square-foot store is to establish longer-lasting relationships with customers and provide a space where they can experience the products and find technical support at its “Answers” desk, Microsoft representatives have said.

“That ability to touch and feel a product, speak to a sales associate, to get excited by the ambience of a store and to engage with products is a really important driver in purchasing decisions,” said Alison Jatlow Levy, a retail strategist at consulting firm Kurt Salmon.

Demonstration displays with Windows phones and Xbox products line the walls. There’s a small living-room setting with space for people to play Kinect and potentially attract the interest of other passing customers. Windows PCs are displayed in the center of the store under categories such as “Everyday PCs” and  “Favorite PCs.” Tables also feature Microsoft's Ultrabook laptop and tablets.

“The different laptops speak to different choices and price ranges,” said store manager Stephen Melnick. Sales associates help customers figure out options based on their individual electronic needs, he said.

The store features a theater with a 103-inch touch screen for product workshops as well as various community organization events. The store also has a small business representative who will help design workshops based on feedback from local business customers.

Pictured: Interior of  Microsoft's new Long Island store, opening Friday at Walt Whitman mall in Huntington Station.

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