Retail report: Wireless Zone will move into downtown Ann Arbor store long occupied by Shahin Clothing
The franchise will be an exclusive retailer of Verizon Wireless products, owner Debbie Peterson said.
“It’s an opportunity for people who live and work (downtown) to service their devices and wireless needs within their business community,” Peterson said.
The deal started to take shape in the fall as Shahin Clothing owner Shahin Uzunjian prepared to retire and sought a tenant for the space in his building at 212 S. Main, between Espresso Royale and Peaceable Kingdom.
As she took over the retail end of that partnership and rebranded the former 20/20 Wireless stores, Verizon Wireless started to shift its sales platform from multi-carrier retailers.
Today, Peterson’s stores — as well as others in the national Wireless Zone franchises — exclusively sell high-end Verizon products.
At the same time, longtime Verizon sellers like Wireless Toyz, 200 E. Washington St., no longer will have the brand in its wireless lineup by the end of February, owner James Jalbero confirmed.
Peterson started negotiations for the store space near Thanksgiving, before Verizon announced its pending retail sales of the iPhone and iPad products, but after it launched its 4G network.
Both spell business potential as Peterson plans her store around premium Verizon products, she said.
She’ll take possession of the store Tuesday, and plans to immediately make over the space, with the goal of opening by mid-March.
“It needs a tremendous amount of renovation,” she said.
Peterson estimates she’ll spend about $45,000 on the renovations, and then Wireless Zone will ship in another $55,000 in equipment, like display terminals.
Peterson plans to convert the space into a high-tech, interactive environment that preserves some of the historic feel of the building, like exposed brick walls.
“I think it’s going to be a great spot,” Peterson said. “Downtown Ann Arbor is such a vibrant business district.”
Peterson employs about 20 people among her four stores, and she’ll be moving experienced personnel to the new store, she said.