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BlackBerry launches first store at Hartsfield-Jackson

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Employees and travelers can now obtain anything and everything BlackBerry, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The BlackBerry store is located on Concourse B. A grand opening is scheduled for today at 10:30 a.m., though the store has been open since Feb. 27.

"This is the only store in the world strictly BlackBerry," said Bill Swift, managing partner for Airport Retail Management, a group which operates the store in partnership with Wireless Giant. "It provides customers with significant items to choose from, and staff expertise. The store has all the batteries, headphones, and software that you can imagine for any BlackBerry device."

According to Swift, BlackBerry store staff members are trained on all aspects of the popular device for three months before being assigned a shift in the store.

The BlackBerry store offers customers all of the brand's handheld models, as well as devices such as the Remote Stereo Gateway, which allows a user to wirelessly play music stored on a BlackBerry through a stereo system, Swift explained.

Another device, the Impatica ShowMate, is available for BlackBerry users who want to break away from their laptops.

"It allows you to connect the BlackBerry to a LCD projector, and be able to do a PowerPoint presentation right through the library," said Swift.

Swift said store operators first tested the concept in Detroit, Mich., and used that store as a training facility.

According to Corey Harville, system manager for BlackBerry, most of the airport store's customers are business travelers.

He said business people praise the device because of its security features.

"For business people, it's important they have security measures, so they don't give away secret corporate information through e-mail," said Harville. "BlackBerry offers seven different levels of encryption."

ARM will open a total of 14 stores at the airport as part of the airport's "retail renaissance," which is expected to add about 70 new concessions by this summer.

Swift said the BlackBerry store has so far proven popular among travelers.

"The reception to the store is reflected on sale numbers, which are far above average," he said.