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Article updated: 11/21/2013 4:15 PM

Verizon starts transforming suburban stores into lifestyle centers

Solution Specialist Felipe Eguiguren demonstrates the Amplify It smart zone at Verizon Wirelessí new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

Solution Specialist Felipe Eguiguren demonstrates the Amplify It smart zone at Verizon Wireless' new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

Solution Specialist Jonathan Deassis demonstrates an AR Drone, which records video and takes pictures while controlled by remote control from a cellphone, at Verizon Wirelessí new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

Solution Specialist Jonathan Deassis demonstrates an AR Drone, which records video and takes pictures while controlled by remote control from a cellphone, at Verizon Wireless' new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

Solutions Manager Nathan Muhr holds a Moto TC Rally Car at the Have Fun Smart Zone inside Verizon Wirelessí new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

Solutions Manager Nathan Muhr holds a Moto TC Rally Car at the Have Fun Smart Zone inside Verizon Wireless' new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

Solution Specialist Raumon Tatum, left, talks with customers Peter Gubernat of Bartlett and Tim Winiecki of Schaumburg at the Home and On The Go smart station inside Verizon Wirelessí new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

Solution Specialist Raumon Tatum, left, talks with customers Peter Gubernat of Bartlett and Tim Winiecki of Schaumburg at the Home and On The Go smart station inside Verizon Wireless' new Smart Store in Woodfield Mall.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

Verizon wirelessí new Smart Store has opened in Woodfield Mall.

Verizon wireless' new Smart Store has opened in Woodfield Mall.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

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Verizon Wireless, which has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg, has unveiled its first four so-called Smart Stores in the suburbs that will allow consumers to shop by lifestyle.

The newly designed concept stores are at 5 Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, 143 Danada Square East in Wheaton, 2730 Route 34 in Oswego and 202 N. Randall Road in Lake in the Hills,

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"We are revamping the customer experience and we've changed the flow of the store," said Todd Olsted, project manager on the Smart Stores.

These revamped and enlarged Verizon Wireless stores are among about 1,700 nationwide that are undergoing the same transformation. He could not immediately say which area stores will be next, but announcements will be made when they're competed, said Olsted.

From the moment customers walk into the Smart Store, they will be greeted and offered a tour. The new concept is divided into four main areas: music, fitness, toys and home automation. Each will feature the technology, services and accessories for that particular area. The stores will be staffed by trained experts, he said.

Also, the center of the store will provide a u-shaped table for workshops to teach customers how to use their devices.

"You can come in throughout the day to attend a workshop," he said.

A touch screen will also provide information.

About four to six free workshops will be scheduled throughout the day and you can register for them online. The area is also used to teach during unscheduled times as well, he said.

In addition, the new Smart Stores will offer customers about 40 percent more accessories, so they'll have more choices during the holiday gift-buying season, he said.

Surfing: West Dundee-based SaveATreeCards.com has unveiled about 100 holiday ecards that companies can use. They are email-, tablet- and smartphone-compatible. The site also enables businesses to customize ecards with logos, messages, web links and special offers; set precise distribution dates and times; track receipt of ecards; and view reports and analytics -- better leveraging the holiday opportunity.

• Android 4.4 KitKat has been rolling out in phases for Moto X on Verizon Wireless. You can read more on it at the Libertyville-based Motorola Mobility blog.

• Deerfield-based Walgreen on Thursday opened its first "net-zero energy" retail store in Evanston. Net zero means the store is expected to produce energy equal to what it consumes. It will include geothermal technology, 800 solar panels, two wind turbines, LED lighting and low-energy food refrigeration.

• Tech company Flexera, a provider of application and management solutions for application producers and businesses, will move in March to about 75,000 square feet at 300 Park Blvd. within the Hamilton Lakes Office Park in Itasca. The company said the move was necessary for its rapid growth and represents a space increase of about 50 percent to accommodate 325 employees. The company has 581 employees globally, including 171 in its current headquarters in Schaumburg.

• Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter. Write to her at akukec@dailyherald.com.

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