The boom on Fort Dodge's Corridor of Commerce continues to unfold. The latest addition to the eclectic shopping and service options along this thriving thoroughfare is a Verizon Wireless company store that opened July 26 at 2957 Fifth Ave. S. - just north of the Kohl's department store.
This new outlet for one of the nation's most successful technology companies - more than $70 billion in revenue in 2011 - is very much state-of-the-art. The 2,500-square-foot store is the first in the Hawkeye State - and one of the first nationally - to feature Verizon's new Evolution 2.0 design. According to a statement issued by Verizon, this marketing concept features an open floor plan and an interactive environment that enhances consumers' ability to experience more fully the company's products before making a purchase.
"We have more devices on the floor," said Christopher Hawley, who manages the Fort Dodge store, explaining why he is enthused about the merchandising approach embodied in Evolution 2.0. "We have many, many devices on the floor, which are all active and live. There are not any fake phones out there, which allows customers a better experience. They can come in here and be able to use the product, play around with it before they buy it."
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Verizon Wireless Store manager Chris Hawley looks over some of the many electronic selections available. The retail location is at 2957 Fifth Ave. S. in Fort Dodge.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Richard Palmer, of Fort Dodge, looks over a selection of 4G Tablets during a recent visit.
Once a selection is made, there is no long wait for the product to be in the customer's hands.
"Pretty much all of the devices that we have on the floor, we have in stock ready to sell," Hawley said. "Otherwise we do offer free shipping from our warehouse."
The spacious store has been designed for both strong visual appeal and maximum functionality.
"The floor plan is very clean, it's very inviting," Hawley said. "So, it's a very nice layout."
The decision to select Fort Dodge as the premiere Iowa site for the company's latest marketing innovation reflects Verizon's excitement about this area and its commitment to the community, according to Hawley.
"We've always had service up here, but we haven't had a corporate store ever," he said. "We're very, very excited to be here to serve the Fort Dodge area. ... We chose the Evolution 2.0 floor plan for this city. It's definitely an up-and-coming city, a lot of things going on here.
The Verizon store features 4G LTE smartphones, tablets, an array of accessories, mobile jetpacks and much more. Hawley said that the company is rapidly bringing its 4G network online and will have it in place in most service areas by the end of 2013. While 4G service has yet to be implemented locally, he stressed that the 4G devices are fully compatible with the existing service.
Hawley stressed that once 4G service is in place customers will find the enhancement over 3G to be truly impressive.
"The difference is speed," he said. "All of our 4G phones are 10 times faster than our 3G phones. So when you are using the apps or browsing the Web ... you have a lot better user experience - a lot faster for you."
Whatever phone, tablet or other device a customer selects, a big part of the service Verizon offers at the new Fort Dodge store is making certain the client knows how to use it fully and effectively.
"We are big on teaching," Hawley said. "I have a bunch of wireless experts ... that when we sell you the phone, we show you everything; answer all your questions."
In line with that educational commitment are free wireless workshops the store offers every week.
"My location does two per week," Hawley said. "We're going to do them on Tuesday afternoons at 3 p.m. until 4 and Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. - an hour before we open. ... You don't have to be a customer of ours to come."
The world of cell phones and other wireless devices is highly competitive. Hawley stressed that Verizon's success in building market share is explained in part by an impressive network and an unfailing commitment to top-notch customer service.
"We always put our customers first," he said. "Of course, always give them the latest and greatest devices as well. ... Those devices go on America's most reliable network."
About Verizon Wireless
According to information provided by the company, Verizon Wireless operates the nation's largest 4G LTE network as well as its largest 3G network. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., Verizon has 78,000 employees nationwide and serves 94.2 million retail customers.
The Fort Dodge store has a staff of 12. Hawley said seven of those team members were new hires from the Fort Dodge area.
The local Verizon manager has been with the company since April 2007. He was the company's retail float manager for central Iowa just prior to taking the helm in Fort Dodge and previously managed Verizon outlets in the Des Moines area and Ames.
The Fort Dodge Verizon Wireless store is open Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m.
A grand opening is planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.