The brand new flagship LEGO Store opens in Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney today, and for the first time, I am quite jealous of you Sydneysiders!
I was invited to fly up to Sydney to attend a special AFOL Preview event where a small group of local LUG members got the opportunity to be one of the first groups of people to check out the new LEGO Store.
The LEGO Store can be found at Westfield Bondi Junction, near the Oxford Street Entrance and is located right next to the Apple Store.
To find out more about what to expect from the store, such as the deal with VIP cards, opening promos, have a read of this article I wrote yesterday.
If you’d like a virtual tour of the store, check out a short video I made above to get a better look at the interiors!
Spread across two levels, the moment you enter the store through the main entrance, a large, welcoming archway, you feel as if you’ve walked into what is the pinnacle of the LEGO retail experience.
The bright yellow shelves, flooring and LEGO on display warmly beckon you in, where you’ll most likely be fixated by the large red 2 x 4 brick, or a life-sized Emmet statue.
If you’ve visited LEGO Stores overseas, the entire store should feel very familiar, from the displays of sets, to the shelves where boxes upon boxes of LEGO tempt you to part with your money.
The LEGO Store is a joy to navigate, and I can tell a lot of thought has been put into the customer’s journey to the store. It feels quite sparse, which is actually quite nice as there’s plenty of room to browse and wander from shelf to shelf.
I really that they haven’t crammed a ton of LEGO into the store, and all that extra room will come in handy when the place inevitably is overrun by kids and families
I have to say, the two-storey design of the store is such a genius move. As I wandered through the store, it immediately became quite apparent how and why they split the store between two levels.
On the ground floor, you’ll find themes, products and sets that cater towards younger demographics – LEGO’s core audience of 8 year old boys and girls, as well as their parents.
You’ll find LEGO City, Friends, Duplo, Ninjago, LEGO Movie 2, Creator, Creator Expert, and some Ideas sets on the ground floor.
It being a LEGO Certified Store means that almost the entire range of LEGO is available, so expect the latest and greatest sets to be on display as you walk in. We had the Creator Expert Ford Mustang and LEGO Flintstones set on display near the entrance.
One of the most underrated things about having a LEGO Store near you, is that you’re then able to get newly-released sets ON launch day, so for those of you that don’t believe in delayed gratification, you’ll be very happy if you’re near a LEGO Store.
If you’re headed there on Opening Day expecting a ton of exclusives that you can’t buy from big retailers, you might be a little disappointed as there weren’t many.
I was quite surprised, as I was honestly expecting to see more polybags and exclusive merchandise, but the offerings were quite light – just your stock-standard keyrings, Xtra polybags and sets like the Birthday Table Decoration set.
I did speak to one of the LEGO reps who was there, and he did indicate that they would be ramping up stock soon, so I hope that this is just an Opening Day problem – as they start to get in their groove and run out of inventory, I can see them ordering more interesting sets and products in.
On the ground floor, you’ll also find the Build a Minifigure station, where you can choose from a variety of heads, hairpieces/hats, torsos legs and an accessory to build 3x minifigures for AU$19.99.
This is a really fun and popular staple at LEGO stores for both kids and adults to customise minifigures to their hearts’ content.
One of the key attractions on the ground floor are the LEGO Mosaics, designed by Ryan McNaught. There’s paying homage to Sydney’s beach culture, we have this beach scene featuring classic Swimmer minifigures.
One of the main highlights of the store that will be unveiled tomorrow, is this beautiful mosaic of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, set against a classic Australian sunset.
Also designed by Ryan McNaught, the mosaic is made of 62,300 bricks and took 282 hours to build.
The colours are just brilliant, and the pops of light from the Opera House, buildings and ferry make this classic view from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair one of the standout highlights of the store.
Another popular fixture is this giant LEGO Shark Suit Guy minifigure statue, which can be found right next to the stairs. Be sure to snap a selfie with him before you head upstairs!
Hidden in the back of the ground floor is a small room that can be rented for birthday parties or private functions. There’s a large table in the middle with bricks, so that kids can build as much as they want with LEGO as they party.
After taking in the sights from the ground floor, Adult LEGO fans will naturally make their way upstairs to the second floor.
On the staircase is a timeline featuring a brief history of The LEGO Group, with some of the biggest milestones that have defined our beloved brand of plastic bricks.
Oh, and if you’re in a wheelchair or mobility scooter, or have a stroller, there’s also a lift with some cool decals on the inside that’s reminiscent of Legoland Hotel lifts!
The star of the upper level of the store is without a doubt, the Pick a Brick Wall. The wall is on the smaller side, but as this is the first time Sydneysiders get a PAB wall of their own, I doubt we’ll hear many complaints.
If you’re new to LEGO Stores, you can fill up a small or large cup (you get to keep the cup) with as many LEGO bricks or parts from the wall as you can fit in – as long as the lid is able to be closed.
The small cups retail at $14.99 and the large ones at $29.99, and it’s a great way to beef up your parts collection, especially if there are rare and coveted elements on the wall. In the photo above, you can see the current inventory of bricks – these of course rotate every couple of months so you’ll see brand new parts every now and then.
The upper level is dedicated to Adult LEGO fans, so you can expect to find themes like Star Wars, Overwatch, LEGO Ideas and Super Heroes on this floor.
Like I said earlier, having the Pick a Brick Wall on another level is a great move. At the Legoland Discovery Centre Shop in Chadstone, there’s always tons of people using the PAB Wall, which makes it quite hard to navigate and quite cramped.
Cordoning it off upstairs is a really smart move and it ensures that families and younger kids can browse the ground floor without too many Adult LEGO fans taking up too much space.
Lastly, on the upper level is the continuation of the mosaic from the ground level with a Surf Life and Rescue structure.
Oh yes, and there is a VIP program that you can register for at the store, which allows you to collect points when you buy LEGO and redeem those points off future purchases.
Final Thoughts: I’ll be honest, I’ve always been very apprehensive about LEGO Certified Stores in Australia. Apart from the exclusive sets I can’t buy anywhere else, why would I visit when I can easily buy sets for full price that often go on sale at all the major retailers?
Turns out, I’m only one of a small minority that thinks like that. I spend quite a bit of time at Chadstone Shopping Centre, and I always make it a point to visit the Legoland Discovery Centre shop.
And without fail, the shop is always packed full of smiling, happy families and Chadstone is constantly full of visitors carrying those large yellow LEGO plastic bags – often with huge sets like Hogwarts or the Saturn V.
I think the LEGO Sydney Store is going to be a rousing success for LEGO Australia, and will mark the start of more LEGO Certified Stores opening across the country.
When I visited on Monday, the boards were still up, but just seeing the glass walls, and the great location that’s going to feed a ton of foot traffic into the store, I can’t help but predict that it’s going to be a huge win for LEGO. I can’t wait to see what the store looks like from the outside.
LEGO Stores have always been places where you experience the best of LEGO. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they expect people to shift all their purchases to the store (but do vote with your wallet if you want to see more), but it represents a bigger ideal – a way for kids, families and adults to interact with LEGO and really see the vast possibilities and sets that make up LEGO’s entire catalogue.
The layout is fantastic and really well thought-out and as the team continue to grow and gain more experience, it’s definitely one to watch.
LEGO’s deal with Alceon Group doesn’t seem like a one-off (you can only look to their Instagram account @legocertifiedstores_anz (go give ’em a follow) to note that its stores with an S – which indicate that expansion into other states and maybe even New Zealand is a definite possibility.
All in all, I had a great time at the AFOL Preview Night and it was wonderful to meet and chat with the team at the store, led by the amazing Tina (far left) who is the store manager.
They’ve hired a great bunch of people, with a good mix of warmth and knowledge that make great ambassadors for the LEGO brand.
The Sydney LEGO Certified Store opens today at Westfield Bondi Junction. If you’re in Sydney, be sure to head down there and check it out soon, and let me know in the comments what you think!
If you have any questions about the store, or if I can help with anything, leave a comment and I’ll try to get some answers!
Thanks once again to LEGO for the invitation and for flying me up to Sydney. All opinions are my own.