Verizon Wireless converts NewMarket Square store to Smart Store

WICHITA — The newly expanded Verizon Wireless at NewMarket Square opens Thursday with a new concept.

“We are opening what we call a Smart Store,” says spokeswoman Brenda Hill.

“We’ve really completely redesigned the customer experience inside the store,” she says. “Now the way the store is organized is … really focused on the way that customers use wireless.”

Only 100 of Verizon’s 1,700 stores across the country have this concept so far, and this will be the first one in Wichita and second one in Kansas.

“This is a big deal for us to have one of the first,” Hill says.

She says an employee called an experience specialist will greet customers when they enter the store.

“A lot of times customers come in the store, and they really don’t know what they need,” Hill says. There’s a lot “that they don’t know wireless can help them with.”

She says that might include ways to save money on home energy or devices to measure fitness goals.

The store will have four major zones to cater to various needs.

There’s a home zone where customers can try out products such as remote thermostats and cameras they can control with their phones.

“You can … see how they work,” Hill says.

There’s an amplified music zone and a fitness zone.

There’s also a fun zone, which, Hill says, “is honestly a lot of toys.” For instance, there’s a toy helicopter that is controlled by a phone.

Hill says not everything is for kids, either.

The store, which used to be 2,500 square feet, is now 5,200 square feet.

April Reed of Slawson Cos. handled the deal.

With the opening of the new store, Verizon is making a $25,000 grant in phone support to Wichita’s StepStone, which helps victims of domestic violence.

There eventually will be more Smart Stores for Kansas and Wichita, though Hill says none are planned yet.

“The significance of the Smart Store opening in Wichita is that it shows that Verizon Wireless Wichita’s an important market for us.”