Sprint store opens at the Gateway | ParkRecord.com

Sprint store opens at the Gateway

SKYLER BELL, Of the Record staff

Cities throughout Utah will be among the first markets where Sprint will roll out a new plan with coverage expected to reach more than 40 million people. The upgrade means users in these markets could experience average upload speeds similar to a DSL connection.

Why should Parkites care? Sprint just moved to town.

"Wireless phones and services have been at the top of holiday gift lists for years," said Sam Soter, a Sprint Preferred Retailer and owner of the Park City Store. "With this week’s launch of Sprint’s high-speed mobile broadband service, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the discounts being offered and experience the power of the nation’s largest wireless broadband network."

Having the new Sprint store, which is located at 136 Heber Ave. in the Gateway, means Parkites no longer have to drive 30 minutes to get a new phone, buy accessories, upgrade their plan, pay their bill or replace a lost or broken phone, Soter said.

"Park City has reached a point that demand has increased to where the area needs a store," he said. "There is a demand, whether it be for new technology or service, and that means a store is required."

Although the store has been open since the first week of November, Sprint will hold its grand opening Dec. 1 from noon to 7 p.m. with food and drinks from the Backdoor Delicatessen, giveaways, special offers and possibly an Olympic guest, which Soter said would be a "game-day decision."

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"Whenever we kick off a store we like to invite the entire community down to see what we’ve done and see what we’re bringing," Soter said. "In this case Sprint has given us the chance to do something different. For the first 100 customers, who we think will come in the first 10 days or so, Sprint will give them a $50 credit on their first bill. All in-store accessories will also be 50 percent off."

The grand opening, Soter said, will also be a great time to sign up for a new service, to upgrade a current one, or just check to see if any new discounts are available.

"If you’re a Sprint or Nextel customer, there are literally thousands of corporate or government discounts that people aren’t aware of," he said. "For example, if you work for the government you might be entitled to a 50 percent discount."

Soter, who co-owns 13 stores from Boise, Idaho, to the BYU Bookstore, said that he thinks Sprint’s network is the most comprehensive in the area, and that the store’s policies will help to serve the tourist-friendly town of Park City.

"I think that what we’re doing there right now is exciting," Soter said. "We’re the first to throw the iron in the fire, so to speak, by bringing Sprint to Main Street, which I think is great for Park City residents. Although we’re also authorized to sell Verizon and Cingular and T-Mobile, we feel Sprit has the best service and coverage for the area."

Unlike many other cell phone companies, Sprint subscribers can pay their bills, upgrade their plans or replace a lost phone at any location. Soter said that with the number of tourists coming to Park City, someone is bound to lose or break a phone, which he said can be easily replaced or upgraded at the Park City store, even if they live across the country.

"We felt like that was the best offering for Summit County residents or travelers," he said. "We can help the traveling consumer, just by the nature that we’re here. I think we’ll find that when people travel a lot of people leave something behind at home. We can help."

Park City seemed to be a perfect fit for a Sprint store, Soter said, because of the increase in demand, high level of tourism, and thirst for technology that is inherent in the town.

"The technology that Sprint offers in terms of high-speed Internet access or two-way video on your phones or laptops is incredible," he said. "In my estimate, we’re a year ahead of everyone else. What that means is that you’ll have comparable DSL speeds using an air card, and that’s really big for a lot of people who can get a cellular signal but not a regular connection, or someone who needs to work while taking a ski break in a lodge."

Soter, who co-owns Synergy Business Group with his stepfather Val Pantone, started in the cell phone business with his first store in 1999. Both he and Pantone came from retail backgrounds,

"We started as a company that just did cell phone accessories in the late 1990’s," Soter said. "We wanted to see if they would sell at the mall and we found out there was a larger demand than we thought. The demand was so much higher that I had to quit my job and focus full-time on the cell-phone business."

Sprint, located at 136 Heber Ave. is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store can be reached at 615-7596.