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Downtown GCI store aims for end-of-year opening

Residential customers will be the focus of the new store on Seward Street

Posted: September 27, 2011 - 12:01am
A sign introduces the future opening of a new GCI branch office on Seward Street on Monday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
A sign introduces the future opening of a new GCI branch office on Seward Street on Monday.

Construction has begun on the General Communication, Inc., downtown store. The 972-square-foot retail store will be on Seward Street next to Pair-A-Dice Tattoo.

“This will be a retail store so folks in downtown can access their telecommunications needs without having to go to the valley,” said GCI spokesman David Morris.

This store will focus on residential customers. Morris said the company hopes to have it open before the end of the year.

Morris gave two purposes behind having a second store. He said one was the Juneau market has grown enough to support it. The other reason is the evolution of the whole industry that demands more in-store accessibility.

Morris said greater personal accessibility has become a vital part of the telecommunications industry. He gave examples of how it used to be many residential customers simply signed up for services via telephone. He said that now with more options for accessories, customers demand to have stores they can get to easily to find the products themselves.

He said most want to see these products themselves when they sign up for services. He said options such as certain cable boxes or cell phones configured to exact plans are a recent factor in customer decisions and they must be observed or sampled rather than described over the phone.

“It’s a much different business than it was 20 years ago,” he said.

Morris said more customers also need nearby stores because they swap products out a lot. He said the business has become much more of a commodity basis.

Morris said GCI will likely hire additional people to cover the additional traffic.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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