Locally owned 20-20 Wireless changed the name of its three area stores to Wireless Zone last summer. It wasn’t a sale, explains co-owner Debbie Patterson, but a conversion: “That means they take an existing [independent] retailer and convert it to a franchise.” Patterson says the affiliation with the 400-store Wireless Zone chain really raised customer awareness. “We’ve adopted the new look,” Patterson says. “They sent in a truck and set it all up in two days.” The new design includes light birch-wood displays that give the store an open, inviting feel.

Wireless Zone sells only Verizon, so she has a Verizon Wireless logo on her storefront. “That helps a lot,” says Patterson. But she says the biggest advantage of the franchise is that “they take the administration away, so we can focus on customer service.” Patterson says in today’s cellular market, it’s all about customer service, not sales. While she still sells plenty of Verizon phones and sets up calling plans for customers, most of Patterson’s business is built on helping them get the most out of their phones, from making sure there’s ample memory for photos and video to showing people how to transfer the images they take to their computers and printers. “That’s cumbersome to people,” she says. “They don’t know how to set that stuff up.”

Wireless Zone, 5245 Jackson Rd. 327-5500. Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Sun.

Got a retail or restaurant change? Send email to sallymitani@gmail.com or tonymcreynolds@tds.net or leave voicemail at 769-3175, ext. 309.