by Jason Ramsey
Disclosure: I bring this post to you as a Verizon brand ambassador, all opinions expressed are my own.
Last week we saw the culmination of the Verizon lifestyle when they had the grand opening of their first ever Destination Store. Pop star Selena Gomez was there to blast off the festivities. Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews and fashion and style expert Nina Garcia also made appearances at the store last week to help with the launch.
Last Friday I had the pleasure of flying to Minneapolis to meet some social media influencers, and tour the new Verizon Destination store. The new store is located in the Mall of America and is the only one of its kind in the world. We got a VIP tour of the store from the general manager, then participated in a live #VZWBuzz Twitter party and live video chat. It was the most fun I’ve ever had using twitter. The new Verizon store is almost 10,000 square feet and is unlike any retail store I’ve ever seen. It was an honor to be there with some titans in social media; Monica Villa, Ann Tran, Misty Mcpadden, Robyn Wright, Lin Blogomomma, Thomas Clifford, and Marty Mcpadden.
Even before you walk in the store you can see it’s different. The mall opens at 5am to accommodate walkers, but the store doesn’t open until 10am. For that reason there is an interactive device on the glass that lets you control a wall size screen just inside the store. The store is divided into zones.
The first one you see as you walk in is the Amplify It Zone which is right up my ally because it’s all about sound. There is a “wall of sound” filled with bluetooth speakers that are controlled by tablets on the wall below. This zone is near and dear to my heart because you can control the screen on the wall next to the speakers with an iPad. You can change musicians and instruments to get the mix you want, then download the song at the end. When you’re done it also asks you if you would like to sign up for a free trial lesson at your local School of Rock, of which I’m a franchisee. Pretty cool huh?
The next one is the Anywhere Business Zone which is stocked with solutions for small businesses. Accessories for your mobile devices, mobile copiers, and networking devices highlight this area. They even have a toy department called the Have Fun Zone. You play mini-golf by controlling a Sphero ball with a smartphone.
The area that intrigued me the most was the Home and On the Go Zone. It had a miniature house where you can control lights and motion sensors in your home. A super cool demo for anyone interested in improving the tech in their lighting is the Hue bulb, which can change colors with the control of your smart phone. The ladies in our group were loving the dream house in this section.
The Get Fit Zone probably applied to me the most. I’ve been researching the Fitbit and Jawbone Up for a while now. I’m going to get in better shape and these are tools that can help me do it. There are many other products in this section too that can help you track your blood pressure, calories burned, meals, and weight.
The Customize It Zone lets you stand in front of a green screen to customize your own case. The image is actually baked on in-house, so you can pick it up about :45 minutes after you make it. Tons of mix and match cases with seemingly limitless combinations to make your phone look exactly like you want it.
That brings me to the last zone. The reason I saved it for last was because it was my favorite. The Wireless Workshop Zone is allows you to make stop animated videos. You can do it with either Instagram or Vine, but it’s easier with Vine because they have a ghost button that lets you see the last frame you shot as you move through the video. They had a ton of Christmas props on hand, and I made several of them. Not everyone in our group was quick to adapt. Some had never used Vine before, but with a little persuasion I think we all finally made one and posted it. You can see one of mine below.
It was a special day, and thanks to Verizon and The Online Mom.com for inviting me. I had a chance to meet some really cool people I’ve been tweeting with for years and we got to see one of the coolest tech stores on the planet.