Crowds have waited up to two hours, blocking the Canberra Centre’s walkways, to be the first inside the ACT’s first certified LEGO store.
Several hundred LEGO fans waited patiently in a line reportedly up to a kilometre long that wound out of the centre and along Bunda Street.
Members of the Canberra LEGO Users Group’s (CLUG) were given a sneak preview of the new store on Friday night.
CLUG committee member Jake Radloff there’s been a huge response to finally having a local outlet.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” he says. “We’ve been waiting for many months for it to come out.
“There’s a lot of exclusives sets and a pick-a-brick wall and a few really, really cool activities that some of our members have been travelling to Sydney or sometimes to Melbourne to get.”
The store features two signature works by Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught, Australia’s only LEGO Certified Professional.
One is a woman having a selfie with a kangaroo, the other a giant mosaic featuring a scene of hot air balloons over Black Mountain Tower.
“It’s really iconic. It really hits you as you head into the store,” Jake says.
The store was announced in March 2021, but fans have had a long wait with COVID-19 lockdowns delaying its opening.
But there’s been an unexpected upside to the delay.
“Because they’ve been waiting for a little while to open the store, there are actually some older sets that are not too easy to find in some of the other stores,” Jake says.
The CLUG meets monthly and holds regular events to showcase their own imaginative designs.
“To really fuel that passion, members have got to have access to bricks,” he says.
“One of the ways they can do that is the pick-a-brick wall … that gives you more bricks to be able to build larger creations or augment what you’ve got.”
LEGO Certified Stores general manager Matthew Robertson says the opening has been a huge success.
“The main thing for me is really the kids, watching them come in, [they’re] in awe of the large LEGO models, all the displays.
“We had a couple of the LEGO Masters in store … it’s been fantastic. It’s been a real happy, carnival-type atmosphere.”
Sales have run hot on day one with huge demand for hard-to-find sets.
“[They’ve] been sitting there waiting to open, so I think a lot of people had a lot of pent-up demand for the sets,” Mr Robertson says.
“We’re seeing huge demand, especially for some of the high-price sets.”
Crowds continued to build throughout Saturday, and by midday, it looked like some fans in line would sadly miss out.
Mr Robertson has praised everyone for their good behaviour.
“The people of Canberra have been so patient, waiting for us to open the doors,” he said.
“It’s just really fantastic to be welcomed.”
Don’t be surprised if there’s a lot of LEGO under your tree this Christmas.
If you want to meet up with other local LEGO fans – you can join the Canberra LEGO Users Group (CLUG).