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BTC on target for flagship store opening

BTC officials announced today they are on target for a December 1 opening of the company’s new flagship store at the Mall at Marathon, a 6,500-square foot facility they pledge will transform doing business with the telecom company.

“Where we are headed is a million miles away from where we are at the moment,” said Bob Gill, retail lead, CWC/BTC Integration Team. “This is the new age of retail, the new age of technology. It’s about how that technology can help you lead your busy lives.”

Gill, with arms sweeping the vast interior where what existed was ripped out to make way for what’s coming, said the mall store will be the largest of any operated by BTC majority shareholder Cable & Wireless Communications in the 13 countries in which it operates in the Caribbean.

“What you see now will in another three weeks look like a Verizon, AT&T or Apple store in the U.S., vibrant, modern, user-friendly, interactive,” said Gill. “We will have nearly twice the variety of handsets that we have now and every one of them will be live so when the customer comes in, he or she will be able to see how the set works, they’ll be able to discuss the best packages. If a customer wants to listen to BBC News or download music or see how a movie download works, we’ll be able to show them right here on the spot. They’ll be able to see how technology feels. They’ll be able to feel it, see it, play with it.”

The transformation means that what currently serves as an office for bill payment, address changes and other administrative matters will become a vibrant focal point for “trying on and trying out technology,” according to Gill, who opened 20 such stores throughout Jamaica.

But none of the 20 other stores he created in Jamaica were as challenging as this.

In the mall store’s construction, the challenge lay in preparing for the new without interrupting the busy BTC office. A wall divides the present from building for the future and what’s behind that wall is an explosion of energy. Construction took the fully furnished accommodation down to bare walls. Flooring was ripped up, ceilings were torn down, air-conditioning, electrical and computer cabling was removed to be replaced by newer, better, more energy efficient. Old doors are being carried out, windows tossed, lumber stacked up. Circular saws buzz, hammers pound, everywhere there are men in orange safety jackets intent on their mission and deadline, little time to pay attention to the design crew climbing in and around the scaffolding. The $500,000 project is a work in progress at speeds attuned to the high speed technology the company is promising will be available in New Providence before Christmas.

While design is still top secret until the grand opening, there’s one element the company is willing to talk about.

“It has been our express aim to ensure that the store, in design and execution, also reflects thematically the character of The Bahamas. The sense of The Bahamas will be reflected in both subtle and vibrant ways. The spirit of Junkanoo will be a huge feature and we can reveal that we have commissioned a well-known Junkanoo artist who is producing a design to be featured in repeat detail elements throughout,” according to Vice President of Brand & Communications Marlon Johnson. Career Builders is the local general contractor.

BTC is expected to announce grand opening plans for the store shortly and promises that, like the retail experience store it is celebrating, will be “new age and not like any opening we’ve ever had before.”

The Mall at Marathon store will be the first in a new retail footprint that the company has said will stretch from the northernmost island to the southernmost in the archipelago.

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