Monday, August 13, 2007

Why Are There So Few Cell Phone Stores in the City?

Why Are There So Few Cell Phone Stores in the City?

Given the demise of the pay phone, cell phones are almost a necessity and very convenient as well. Except, of course, when something goes wrong. And even when they work just fine, they are expensive to keep up.

If you just want a pre-paid throw-away phone and/or a recharge of minutes, there are innumerable places you can find that across the urban core. Since a lot of folks don't have particularly good credit and would find it difficult to get a cell phone contract, but still want the convenience of a mobile phone, that's not surprising.

But what is frustrating is just how few actual stores operated by the cell phone carriers themselves that provide sales and service, are located within the City of St. Louis.

  • Sprint has zero stores in the city limits. The nearest is in Richmond Heights on Clayton Rd.

  • T-Mobile likewise owns zero stores in the city; but there is one in the U City Loop.

  • AT&T has one store (signage still says Cingular though), on Hampton Ave. near Pernod Ave. (When I was in elementary school at nearby Mallinckrodt ABI, I believe that was a produce market.) Curiously, it's on the same block as a Radio Shack, which also deals in cell phones but does not have the same services and access rights as a full AT&T store.

  • U.S. Cellular has one store, in Lindell Marketplace near Lindell at Sarah. Again, there's a Radio Shack just down the way, on the other side of Sarah in the same strip mall.

  • Verizon Wireless has one store, in Southtown Centre at Chippewa and Kingshighway.

  • Several years back there was an AT&T Wireless store at 7th and Olive downtown. It was open maybe two years, if that. I think there was also a Cingular store across the street; it too has closed.

    I just find it rather odd there are no retail cell phone company locations downtown, considering there are probably tens of thousands of cell phone users who work downtown, not to mention several thousand AT&T employees.

    Radio Shack, as already mentioned, has locations on Hampton and in Lindell Marketplace. Amazingly, they still have two other stores on the Southside: one in Gravois Plaza just down the way from the Shop N Save (about the only holdover store from the old K-Mart Gravois Plaza), and the other in the now half-empty Chariton Square strip mall on S. Broadway near Meramec St. Those two locations rely heavily on prepaid wireless sales though.


    DeBaliviere said...

    There's a U.S. Cellular on Hampton near Sutherland too.

    Matt Fernandez said...

    The ATT on Hampton was Sun Produce, or something like that. I went to school on the other corner. Many a balls were kicked over the fence onto that parking lot.

    MattHurst said...

    That Cingular store on South Hampton was a recent visit of mine, and i was really disapointed in the sales reps in the store. I waited there in person with a customer service issue, only to have the store rep tell me what i already knew and giving me a customer service number. gah!
    it could be any store, I just expect sales reps to know about the products they sell