Microsoft Retail Takes on Apple and Apple Store in Oak Brook

Microsoft opens their first Illinois retail store in Oak Brook, Illinois as they get ready to take on Apple and the popular Apple Stores. Microsoft invited us to tour the new store and share our thoughts with you.

The Microsoft Windows 7 logo is the only signage outside the store, just like Apple Stores use the Apple logo. Inside the store we were greeted by advisers in colorful t-shirts and lanyards. The store is laid out like an Apple store with tables covered with electronic gadgets you can try out. Our store tour guide, Evelyn Kong, explained the target audience is a young mom who is not tech savvy. Advisers are on hand to help you select the item best for your needs.

Microsoft Retail Store Oak Brook, Illinois

Microsoft Retail Store Oak Brook, Illinois

Around the perimeter of the store, large flat panel monitors show product demonstrations and interactive games. These screens added energy and life to the store. Computers of all sizes are arranged through out the middle of the room. One of the desktop solutions on display was connected to three monitors for the serious multi-tasker. Also available are laptops, netbooks, smart phones and Kindle readers to try for yourself.

A limited number of the most popular software titles are on the shelf. Over 900 additional titles are available through the in-store kiosk. Select the titles you are interested and pay for your purchase. The software is burned onto a branded CD, the label is printed and the disc is placed into a shrink wrapper case while you wait.

Shoppers can schedule a free 15 minute consultation with an Microsoft expert who can fix or diagnose your technology problem. Store staff can help you set up your new purchase and training sessions are available.

A home theater area showcased Xbox in the family gaming center setting. Microsoft has a solution for those who do not like the look of their Xbox or laptop clashing with their home or office colors. Bring your logo or a picture to the store and Microsoft can create a skin to cover your product. Put your company logo on your laptops for your sales team, brand music players you give customers or cover your Xbox to match your living room decor.

The kids in the store gravitated to Kinect game played on the 100+” touch screen television. Using wireless sensors, the kids rafted down a river using their bodies to control the movement of the raft. Companies and individuals can rent this big screen area at no charge for parties or classes.

This area with a large screen is available for free rentals. Have your company meeting or clients in for a session. Contact the store to make reservations and additional information.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Microsoft offer programs and networking session for business owners. Contact the store for more information.

Microsoft sponsored our visit. The Microsoft Retail store in located in Oakbrook Center. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

100 Oakbrook Center
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523-1838
(630) 573-0700

Royal Oak Farm Orchard Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Our McHenry County trip visits Royal Oak Farm Orchard in Harvard, Illinois where apples rule. We found crisp fresh apples, apple pie, apple slices, caramel apples, apple donuts and apple cider. This third generation Harvard, Illinois farm is family friendly. As you cruise the scenic driveway, notice the namesake oak trees lining the road.

The orchard began with a few trees planted on Grandpa’s retirement homestead. The sprinkling of saplings grew into 13,000 apple trees in 29 varieties. U-pick apples are available July through November each year. Check with the farm for current crops as each variety matures at different times of the season.

Our tractor pulled wagon ride took us through the orchards where Justin Bell explained the history of the farm and how they create new trees through grafting. Each year 1000 new trees are planted. As we continued our ride, we passed u-pick raspberry and blackberry bushes. Choose your own pumpkins and gourds. The farm has their own bee hives and their Apple Blossom honey is sold in the gift store.

Royal Oak Farm Orchard Market produce

A bounty of produce at Royal Oak Farm Orchard Market

Stop by the market to stock up on farm fresh produce, bakery items and gifts.

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Try the blackberry pie at Royal Oak Farm County Restaurant

The Royal Oak Farm Country Restaurant is a popular comfort food lunch stop. Breakfast is available on Saturday mornings. I recommend the blackberry raspberry pie with ice cream.

Click on the picture below to watch a video of our visit.

Kids will keep busy in the entertainment area. Feed and pet the animals in the petting zoo, ride the carousel or the “Royal Oak Express” trackless train.

Connect with Royal Oak Farm Orchard on Twitter and Facebook for updates. Corporate groups, family reunions, birthday parties, weddings, receptions and large groups welcome.

ROYAL OAK FARM ORCHARD
15908 Hebron Road
Harvard, Illinois 60033
815-658-4141
www.royaloakfarmorchard.com

Royal Oak Farm is open for apple picking July through November. Hours and prices vary. Check their website for PumpkinFest and AppleFest special events.

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Royal Oak Farm Orchard.

Royal Oak Farm Country Kitchen Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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