A Whole New Lifestyle Experience at Verizon Wireless Smart Store

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From the moment I walked through the door until the time I exited that very same door, I felt like I was immersed in an electronic candy land.

The only thing missing were the ascending sounds of a magical harp and wind chimes in an angelic like crescendo greeting me upon entering. That would have been epic!

As a retail consumer, you already know that the design, people, atmosphere, and vibe all contribute to a better customer experience (and the spending of more money right!).

For example, the reason I gas up and shop at QuikTrip – even if they are more expensive – is because they are always clean, have lots of pumps which means I’m never waiting, and their employees are always ever so cool and converse with me with a smile.

Come to think of it, all of the places I enjoy physically shopping in are for that very reason – the store’s atmosphere and employees are conducive to a great shopping experience and I’m all about experiences!

So when I was invited to check out the Grand Opening of the new Verizon Wireless Smart Store (appropriate name by the way) in Fairview Heights, IL (the first of its kind in the St. Louis metro area), I was totally interested. And I must say, they did NOT disappoint.

Verizon Wireless Smart Store Fairview Heights

Keep your hands in your pockets folks because the doors open automajically. Okay, maybe it’s not really magic but simply one of their lovingly named Operations, Solutions, or Experience Specialists who greets you upon walking in.

From the entrance, your eyes are drawn to the huge monolith where big digital screens live and serve as the central attraction of the store.

Looking around, I am in awe. There are displays all over, separated into different interactive Lifestyle Zones with digital screens showing products in action, totally inviting you into the experience of the product.

  • Get Fit – This area is for fitness and active folks who love their tech gear and personalized wearables to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Have Fun – Ahhh, gotta have fun right?! Here you’ll find games, wireless gaming accessories, and other smart toys for the whole family.
  • Amplify It – Listen to music much? Get a Bluetooth speaker, try new headphones and much more in this area for the music aficionado.
  • Home and On the Go – This was my favorite section! I wanted to take home all of the products in this section from home monitoring systems (mainly to see what my cat does when I’m not home!), keyless deadbolts, and energy management devices.

One of the best things about each of the Lifestyle Zones is that you get to play with and experience products on the spot. No more wondering how loud a speaker gets or how the home security system works. Experience it live!

Verizon Wireless Smart Store Illinois

Near the monolith in the center of the store is a semi-circle table with ample outlets to charge devices and chairs to sit in while you wait. This is also where they hold free Wireless Workshops for hands on training on a multitude of their products.

They also got rid of sales counters and cash registers (which makes the store look even bigger and feel more spacious) and replaced them with tablets for Experience Specialists to handle customers’ sales and service needs. In addition, they have a few strategically placed kiosk-styled desks that can be used if needed.

Towards the back of the store are phones, tablets, and more wearables and oh, I can’t forget the Delphi Connect, a vehicle troubleshooting and monitoring device. With a new teen driver in my household, I am tempted to get this one!

Honestly, I kinda didn’t want to leave! I can tell that other customers in the store were enjoying the experience just as much as I was as there were smiles all around, even the folks who were paying bills at the payment station were smiling. When was the last time you saw someone smiling while paying bills? J

Verizon is no longer just your cell phone company,” said Kristy Kluge, Solutions Manager at this location. “We aim to be your next level lifestyle technology company with an outstanding customer experience and innovative products from home to health to fun.

Over the next few years, Verizon is transforming all 1700+ of its existing retail stores into Smart Stores and I, for one, am excited that Verizon had the vision to reinvent the customer experience infused with creativity. As a happy Verizon customer, I’m sure I’ll be browsing around the more modern and aesthetically pleasing store more often to play with new gadgets and gear!

Do you have a Verizon Smart Store near you? What do you think about the newly enhanced stores?

Kesha BrownAbout Kesha

Kesha Brown is a self-proclaimed Mediocrity EscapologistRebel Business CoachDigital Strategist and Head Chick at UncommonChick.com. She is wildly passionate about helping women pursue a life journey on their own terms, ultimately co-creating  fantabulous relationships, experiencing juicytastic lives, and enjoying authentically inspired personal and professional lives.


The Cubicle Chick


Photos of My 2015 Essence Festival Concert Experience with Verizon #EssenceFest

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I spent a week in New Orleans in July for the 2015 Essence Festival. As I mentioned in my previous post about this year’s activities and events, one of my personal favorite parts of the highly attended event is the concert offerings. For four straight nights, the Essence Fest treated us to music and entertainment by some of the world’s best and most creative artists in music. And night one not only featured two of R&B’s hottest guys out right now, but also gave us a tour stop of Kevin Hart’s latest show.

This is the thing—I love music. I grew up listening to all kinds of music, as both of my parents were avid music fans. I didn’t get to attend a lot of concerts in my early adulthood, so now, I am making up for it, and I try to go to shows each chance I get. So the Essence Fest is a prime opportunity to party in the Superdome while getting to listen to some of the best artists around, young and old.

On top of going to the Essence Fest for a good time, Verizon hooked me up with awesome floor seats in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, so I got to catch all of the shows up close. As one of the sponsors of the Essence Fest, they were in Nola to spread news about their community efforts which include their HopeLine initiative; with donated old phones, Verizon then uses these resources to help those who are suffering from domestic abuse. Since its inception in 2001, Verizon’s HopeLine has collected 11.4 million phones nationwide and has given $ 29 million+ of cash grants to domestic violence organizations.

I am not only a Verizon customer and a brand ambassador, but I am also proud to work with a company that does so much for the community. And thanks to them, I got to see the shows in two of the best seats in the house.

Here’s some photos and highlights from my 2015 Essence Fest concert experience. (and all of the photos below were taken with my Samsung Galaxy Camera powered by Verizon 4G LTE):

Frankie Beverly and Maze

I grew up listening to Frankie Beverly and Maze and I especially remember my dad putting on their records on Sundays when he was maxing and relaxing around the house. He used to make me dance with him to Joy and Pain as well as We Are One, and even though I didn’t like it much then, I cherish these memories now. Frankie Beverly and Maze aren’t from my generation, but I’ve always wanted to see them in concert. And thanks to Essence and Verizon, I got the opportunity—and it made me feel closer to my dad who is no longer with us.

Frankie Beverly Featuring Maze Essence Fest 2015

Erykah Badu

Erykah is someone I can see in concert over and over. She is awesome performer who always showcases her personality and uniqueness with a twist. Erykah put on a show singing her hits including On and On, Next Lifetime, and Love of My Life. When she hit the stage, everyone was grooving, and she did her thing.

Erykah Badu 2015 Essence Fest


I saw Usher perform live during the 2010 NBA All Star Game in Dallas, but it was a short show during halftime. For Essence, he lit up the stage for over an hour singing many of his hits including Make Me Wanna, Nice and Slow, Let It Burn, My Boo, and his latest with rapper Wale, The Matrimony. I loved every minute. (Wale is also a part of Verizon’s Now Playing Tour which took place in several cities leading up to the Essence Festival).

Usher 2015 Essence Fest

Usher and Wale 2015 Essence Fest

Missy Elliott

Missy is now back on everyone’s lists after showing out during the 2015 Super Bowl Halftime Show. She hit the Essence Fest stage where she left off, and it was like she never left. She took us back to I Can’t Stand the Rain, Hot Boys, Get Your Freak On, and Work It, and even came out to the audience and danced with the crowd. We all got our life that night. She’s an incredible performer.

Missy Elliott 2015 Essence Fest

Charlie Wilson

My favorite act of all the concerts was Charlie Wilson. he really put his all into the show and sung his old stuff with The Gap Band, and his solo stuff. He even took us to church, and most of us in the audience didn’t want him to leave—we could’ve partied all night long. If you haven’t seen Uncle Charlie in concert, I suggest you do so whenever he comes to your town. Seeing him is worth every penny.

Charlie Wilson 2015 Essence Fest

Unfortunately, I made the decision to leave Sunday morning (I had been in Nola for a week), so I missed seeing Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar. I saw Mary perform last year at the 2014 ESSENCE Fest, but this year she brought out Method Man to sing their popular 90’s duet All I Need (To Get By). I so hate that I missed that! I’ve also never seen Kendrick Lamar live, so I am kicking myself. I’m sure if I had’ve seen these performances, they would also be on my list.

Even though I am still coming down from the 2015 ESSENCE Festival high, I cannot wait to hear about next year’s line-up, so I can begin making my travel plans. It just keeps getting better and better!

The Cubicle Chick