At a special event today we got to see the opening of the second official LEGO Store not just in South Africa, but in Africa as a whole.
In July of 2018 the country and the continent saw the opening of the first store in Sandton City, and now Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria will open its doors to the public come this Saturday – 1st June 2019.
Official LEGO stores have a lot going for them when compared to regular toy stores or other establishments which stock LEGO. Certain sets are available exclusively at LEGO Stores, a great rewards system is in play for those who shop often, free monthly builds are given out to younger customers and they even have “gifts” for meeting certain thresholds.
A miniature version of the Avengers / Stark Tower, for example, can be had for free after spending R1 999 or more. These sets can’t be bought outright and are extremely desirable even for those who don’t consider themselves collectors.
Inside of the Menlyn Park store is very similar to the one in Sandton. Official LEGO Stores are known for uniformity across the world and we see that here with features such as the Pick A Brick wall and Build A Minifigure station up and running as expected.
What makes Menlyn Park different?
Aside from being in a different location – giving access to more people in the country – this new branch of LEGO Store has a few key differences to the one in Sandton.
In one of the display windows there is a giant mosaic depicting a minifig family taking a picture in front of some Jacaranda trees. This is accompanied with the text “The Jacaranda City”, which is a colloquial name for the city of Pretoria for anyone reading from outside of South Africa.
Other interesting stuff you can’t buy here includes a “Digital Minifig Scanner” which consists of a large screen and hand scanner. The machine scans a user and shows a minifig that would represent them. We’re almost certain there is no actual logic in the prop and that it chooses a minifig at random, but it’s just a bit of fun for the kids.
Finally, there’s a sizeable build of a minifig that can emote using e-ink panels which it has in place of eyes and a mouth. A bit creepy but still cool.
For parents, the prices of all the sets come with QR codes which can be scanned to show the online store page for the item. This has a variety of uses, including being able to shop and find out more about products without speaking to an assistant.
Now there is the matter of exclusive sets which can only be bought here. 75810: The Upside Down is a set based on Stranger Things which represents the first time the toy company has worked with Netflix. This set is a Menlyn Park exclusive for the time being and is on display there if you want to see it in the
flesh plastic. This set is priced at R3 499.99.
The other exclusive set (it was promised that two would be tied to the store) is one made in partnership with NASA in 10266: NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. This set hasn’t officially been revealed as of yet but is currently in the country and will be available for purchase once Menlyn Park is open.
See the bottom of this story for a small gallery of this set. Those interested will need to set aside R1 599.99 for it.
So what’s next?
While the previously-mentioned online storefront for South Africa’s official LEGO Stores does ship everywhere in the country, it doesn’t allow access to the stores themselves and the fun things to do in them.
That’s why it was exciting to hear that these stores will be spreading out into more parts of the country in the near future.
We were told that we can expect them in all “major cities” with explicit mention of Cape Town and Durban being made, so the smart money says that these two will be the first places to get their own stores.
We’ll let you know when that happens but, for now, we’re waiting for 1st June to go and buy a few more sets. Aside from being open to the public on that day, 1st June is important for other reasons.
A slew of new sets are seeing release on that day, and buying them will earn you double points for the loyalty programme. This programme gives you one point for every rand spent, so going ham on the double point days goes a long way towards earning the higher-tier of rewards, such as the exclusive 40145 set.