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Low Foot Traffic Has Verizon Closing FiOS Retail Stores
by Karl Bode 12:23PM Friday Feb 14 2014
Several users have written in to note that Verizon appears to be slowly shuttering their FiOS retail stores, on the heels of having largely frozen any significant FiOS expansion. In conversations with Verizon, I've confirmed that the company will be closing their eight "Verizon Plus" stores in California, the remaining five stores in Texas, as well as three stores in Florida as of March 30. The closures come on the heels of Verizon Wireless announcing that they'd be closing five call centers and consolidating seven others.

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"Each affected employee will have the option of taking or applying for a similar job at another location, and we also are offering a severance payment option to eligible employees who prefer to leave the company voluntarily," Verizon's Bob Elek tells me in an e-mail.

The closures come as Verizon backs away ever further from wired services to focus on more profitable wireless. Still, the company tells me the closures really do come down to foot traffic and straight sales, since a lot of the potential customers in these regions already signed up for service that isn't being expanded into new territory.

"Verizon looks at several factors when closing a store," Elek states. "These stores had relatively low sales activity that did not justify them remaining open." Elek notes that the stores genesis dates back to the GTE Phone Mart days.

"A lot has changed since then, including the nature of nature of retail operations," he adds. "The physical presence traditionally associated with retail is not as important with the popularity of the Internet and has been impacted by the continuing growth of online retail shopping particularly for home communications and entertainment options."

New York FiOS stores will remain open for now, and the moves won't impact any wireless retail presences, which see obviously more traffic due to handset sales. In fact, Verizon is ramping up their wireless store presence in some markets with the launch of significantly larger "destination" stores mirrored after Apple's success at retail.

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IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

1 edit

1 recommendation

Costly overhead...

The stores didn't really serve much purpose. Pointless overhead.

What would make sense is to carve out some space in existing Verizon Wireless stores to cross sell FiOS... Now that VZ has gotten the part of VZW from Vodafone that it didn't own. They wouldn't have to lay anybody off. Just move them to the Wireless retail store and set up a kiosk.

But they won't do that I'm sure.
--
"We're going to start at one end of (Fallujah), and we're not going to stop until we get to the other. If there's anybody left when that happens, we're going to turn around and we're going to go back and finish it."
Lt. Col. Pete Newell: 1st Inf. US Army

CGMason14
Nj Roaddog

join:2002-07-22
Mountainside, NJ

Re: Costly overhead...

Some Verizon Wireless stores have Fios kiosks and do bundle deals. What they can't do (that I know if) is handle FiOS TV equipment returns.

The local FiOS store before it closed was great for getting an extra STB and returning old ones as you didn't have to pay for shipping and you knew they got your old equipment. I'd say 90% of the foot traffic in that place was for equipment related transactions from existing customers, not new customers signing up for service.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

1 edit

Re: Costly overhead...

The stores I've been to in VA weren't busy, but the stores in SoCal have ALWAYS been busy. You're right, the wireless stores don't handle equipment returns, but Verizon wants you to mail that crap in anyway.

hok

join:2002-02-27

Re: Costly overhead...

said by jjeffeory:

The stores I've been to in VA weren't busy, but the stores in SoCal have ALWAYS been busy.

That is absolutely correct. There always is a line waiting for service. Therefore, low foot traffic simply is not true in southern California. As to low sales activity that is true since Verizon is not expanding their FiOS to new territory. Yet, a lot current customers are paying their monthly bills in person by cash. Unless Verizon Wireless stores will start to accept cash payment for FiOS, closing all reminding eight (8) Verizon Plus Stores in California is indeed a disservice to many Verizon FiOS customers in California.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

1 edit
+1

Ours is closed weird hours/etc. Last time I went to get rid of a box it was closed on a Monday (all day)--They put up a sign to go to UPS store, so I went over to UPS store 2 doors down, and they gave me boxes, created the return labels and gave me a receipt and Verizon tracking number. It all took 4 minutes.

Now the UPS store is 2 min from my house, the Verizon store like 20 min. I was also told they will deliver boxes directly to your door to do returns and the post man or UPS will pick it up.

WAY cool if you guys didn't know that. And no charge for either. In fact I heard they started charging people for returning stuff at the store. I guess they are trying to modify this old behavior.

For new stuff/broken, they will roll a truck or do self-install (I use CC).

So I can't see why you would want to wait in line like at your cable company for 1 hour, when you can click on a website, have coffee and a box shows up at your door a few days later or you pop over to a UPS store at your leisure...

TrainBuff
The New Haven Railroad
Premium
join:2003-05-01
Buffalo, NY
kudos:4

Re: Costly overhead...

I think it's going to be a matter of time before the Buffalo store is closed. The kiosk at the Blvd. Mall is history.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: Costly overhead...

I go to the one on Sheridan and it's not really busy. Mostly people returning/swapping equipment--what I think they are trying to get rid of...

I mean you can't even see the sign unless you drive up there...

TrainBuff
The New Haven Railroad
Premium
join:2003-05-01
Buffalo, NY
kudos:4

Re: Costly overhead...

That is the one & only Buffalo store. I was there last Fall to swap out my DVR and it was busy then. There were a few people there waiting to sign up for new service.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Yeah, that would make a lot more sense, although not many VZW store are corporate. AT&T has far more corporate stores, and they sell their crappy U-Verse service at them, as well as DirecTV bundled with DSL for the Slowskys. The ironic part is, seeing DirecTV next to U-Verse just shows how crappy U-Verse is, as the U-Verse TV looks like crap, while the DirecTV TV looks amazing.

removed
Premium,VIP
join:2002-02-08
Houston, TX
kudos:40
Who really even cares about retail anymore? What's next, are they going to let you order FIOS by fax or from the Sears catalog?
--
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ilikeme
I live in a van down by the river.
Premium
join:2002-08-27
Sugar Land, TX
kudos:1

Re: Costly overhead...

What about carrier pigeon?

ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Kinda hard to fill a store...

When you aren't expanding service. You hit a point where all those that can get service will have it if they wanted it. Since they aren't expanding, there are no longer any new customers to be drawn in.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Kinda hard to fill a store...

Even if they were expanding, making a physical shop is not always the best option. It's expensive to maintain and etc. Internet serves this purpose these days.

ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Re: Kinda hard to fill a store...

Remember though, FiOS isn't just internet. They are TV also. So these stores act just like a Comcast Office with a customer service front where folks can pick up and drop off equipment and pay their bills.
shmerl

join:2013-10-21

Re: Kinda hard to fill a store...

May be, but it may be even more convenient to pay bills on-line. Bringing devices for repair - that may be a plus, and even in such cases they might send a technician to your address or you can simply mail it.
biochemistry
Premium
join:2003-05-09
92361

Re: Kinda hard to fill a store...

Believe it or not, there are still millions of people out there who have never paid for anything online.
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Unicorns! Show ponies! Where's the beef?!
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
The prices also suck more money from consumers...
Add the collusion with cable companies and you can understand why few customers are enthusiastic.
praetoralpha

join:2005-08-06
Pittsburgh, PA

Tents

I routinely see Fios tents set up in neighborhoods and subdivisions every few months. Stores would be kind of pointless, when tents are (probably) lower cost, portable, and far more local to where it's available.
Expand your moderator at work

rit56

join:2000-12-01
New York, NY

Re: Tents

They do that here as well during street fairs and other outdoor events. Weather permitting of course.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

Stores were an early advertising tactic when few knew what FTTH meant.
Now that most have at least heard the term and understand it's another type of "wire" the stores cost more than any need they fill. tents/door to door can drive demand in areas currently being installed or where the take rate is lagging.
Version seems to be abandoning FiOS deployments right at the point when sales efficiency SHOULD be best (wide spread knowledge of the product and many of the high costs have been reduced by experience/newer tech/innovations to the base product.)

The machine is now running a peak efficiency, so let's shut it down and move on to something different?
nfotiu

join:2009-01-25

Google?

Verizon seems to have lost all enthusiasm for fios. It would make a lot of sense to sell to Google. Google probably has a vested interest in keeping Comcast in check and what better way to do that then become a real isp by taking over the fios infrastructure. Seems like it would be a good way for Verizon to recover their investment in ftth and focus on wireless.

alchav

join:2002-05-17
Saint George, UT
Reviews:
·ooma

Re: Google?

said by nfotiu:

Verizon seems to have lost all enthusiasm for fios. It would make a lot of sense to sell to Google. Google probably has a vested interest in keeping Comcast in check and what better way to do that then become a real isp by taking over the fios infrastructure. Seems like it would be a good way for Verizon to recover their investment in ftth and focus on wireless.

It would seem like a good fit, but their Fiber Networks are different. I think Google goes into a City and partner's up with them to form a Fiber GigaBit Network. Whereas Verizon's FiOS is integrated into the PSTN. So I don't think Google wants to go in that direction.

PhoenixDown
FIOS is Awesome
Premium
join:2003-06-08
Fresh Meadows, NY
kudos:1
Google doesn't want unions.
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billhere

join:2011-10-21
Santa Monica, CA

Wrong direction

FiOS has a strong presence in Santa Monica, California, but the two nearest FiOS stores are 25 miles away. I was sort of hoping they would open a store closer to my house. I have driven to each of the two stores once in the past 2 1/2 years.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

1 recommendation

I want a receipt

I'd want a receipt from any MSO on returned equipment. I've dealt with on more than one occasion where a provider has claimed that equipment was not returned when in fact it had been returned.

Unfortunately with DirecTV they don't have service centers so you are at the mercy of shipping carriers (that are known to rifle through packages) to get the equipment back. But with Comcast (whose equipment is much more expensive than DirecTV's) you can take it to a service center and get a receipt saying they got it.

I'm sure FiOS equipment ain't cheap if it doesn't get returned (stolen or lost in transit), that's why I'd rather return it in person and get a receipt.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: I want a receipt

You get a receipt.

I actually returned an item w/ I was w/ TWC and they claimed I hadn't even when I had the receipt from them, so that doesn't guarantee anything.

It turned out that TWC was claiming my PURCHASED Moto Cable Modem as their own. Once I had a few colorful words w/ them they finally figured out the MAC wasn't theirs when I had my purchase receipt. I hear Comcast is notorious for that, so TWC can polish up their extra revenue schemes before they get acquired.
thedragonmas

join:2007-12-28
Albany, GA
kudos:1
said by IowaCowboy:

I'd want a receipt from any MSO on returned equipment. I've dealt with on more than one occasion where a provider has claimed that equipment was not returned when in fact it had been returned.

been there, few months back i had to have a video card replaced in a dell, sent it in. they of course used the slowest possible means for return. so about a month later i get a bill for the so called "$500" video card, i of course had a few choice words for them, i had copies of the label, screen grabs of the USPS tracking showing where it was handed over and eventually handed off to fedex, and screen grabs of the fedex tracking showing when it was delivered to them. this of course, was no guarantee that the box was never opened and emptied. in the end, dell sent me the address to their legal dept and basically told me "sucks for you"

ive all so had TCI (remember them?) try to bill me $500/per box a long long time ago, even though i had returned them in person and had a recept, only that one got an "oops, our bad" and an apology, im betting my first scenario ends up playd out more often than the last one with no service desks.

said by elefante72:

You get a receipt.

a shipping receipt is not the same.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

1 recommendation

Re: I want a receipt

A shipping receipt is no guarantee that the item actually arrived at point B. They could have gotten an empty box even though you sent the equipment in.

The postal service, FedEx, and UPS (like any other employer) does have it's fair share of dishonest employees that do steal from packages. When I got my recovery kit, it had the DirecTV logo that might as well have said "Steal Me". And calling a provider to see if the package arrived at their warehouse intact would be like calling the IRS with a tax question. These providers are so big you can't even get customer service anymore. Heaven forbid that Comcast and Time Warner tie the knot. If that happens, I would like to see Springfield, MA and Maine sold off to Charter (or even better Mediacom) if divestitures are part of the deal.

Some of these companies have gotten so big that they can't even be managed.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.

Thespis
I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV.
Premium
join:2004-08-03
Keller, TX
said by thedragonmas:

in the end, dell sent me the address to their legal dept and basically told me "sucks for you"

So you had to pay the $500?
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thedragonmas

join:2007-12-28
Albany, GA
kudos:1

Re: I want a receipt

said by Thespis:

said by thedragonmas:

in the end, dell sent me the address to their legal dept and basically told me "sucks for you"

So you had to pay the $500?

after a two week "investigation" they said they found it, and gave me the address to their legal dept if i chose to pursue legal action (falsely accusing some one of warranty fraud)

but had that box shown up empty, ive no doubt id have been billed.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Kind of useless when you can't get equipment there.

It would be nice to pick up equipment when you want to add more boxes to your service instead of paying for shipping.
pittpete1

join:2009-06-12

FIOS stores are there because of Franchise Agreements

I was told that the stores were there because of franchise agreements.
Customers have to have a place where they can return/exchange equipment...

TAZ

join:2014-01-03
Tucson, AZ
kudos:3

Re: FIOS stores are there because of Franchise Agreements

Maybe so, but what stops this place from being a UPS or FedEx store or post office?

TWC Dude

@rr.com

Keep them open

The Verizon store that's closing in Indio has been there for way over 20 years just as a GTE\Verizon payment location. When Indio received Fios, they made it into a Verizon Plus store. When i cancelled my Fios last year and wanted to take th equipment to the office, The agent told I could not and requested for me to do it thru UPS as well. I think these stores do serve a purpose, some people don't have internet and can't pay online and feel more comfortable with paying with cash. Also, they like the face to face interaction. Just because they are not expanding, doesn't mean they have everyone in these area's people's frustrations with things change day by day. Kind of reminds me of those retail home security companies. Install it and disappear.. Call the number on the bill if anything goes wrong.. Were ghost

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:4

I didn't even know they had FIOS retail stores.

I saw many of their Wireless stores though! :O

Hey Verzion! Resume your FIOS deployments!

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

Fios is dumb

Lets serve a limit area, never expand ,then open a store where we tell you we are never going to serve you. Duh!!
horseshoe
Premium
join:2006-10-11
Upland, CA

1 recommendation

Re: Fios is dumb

Yes, start offering a product, call it the answer to the problems of the future, don't build it thoroughly, advertise it is available but in .5 size font include a disclaimer it's available only in select areas but probably not where you live, open a store, promote it to the areas that won't ever get it, and then close the store because of low traffic and demand. Excerpt taken from the Future of Fios Adventures in Silly Land...