Business

Velocity Wireless still getting the best cell-phone signal

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NORTH BEND - No matter where you are in the Valley, Velocity Wireless wants you to be heard loud and clear.

As it comes up on its 2-year anniversary, the North Bend wireless technology store is still working to get the best signal in the area.

Jim Westlake started the store for the same reason he helped start Frankie's Pizza in North Bend in 1988: there was a need. Back in 1988, there was no pizza delivery in the area and Westlake's pizza business filled the pie hole. In 2001, despite years of cellular technology already in the market, there was no wireless store in the Valley. Westlake recruited professional golfer and Frankie's employee Shawn Thornton to be the store manager and Velocity opened the doors to its North Bend Way location in July 2001.

"I really like this location," Westlake said. "I like being downtown."

Good location aside, Westlake said there was not a large enough market in 2001 in the Valley for a single cell- phone store and there still isn't a big enough market to this day. He said he has been able to stay in business because he offers multiple carrier services, not just one like an AT&T or NexTel store would. Having multiple carriers helps because being loud and clear on wireless products is no small feat in the Valley. Westlake said the topography and weather in the area make it difficult to get consistently good signals, so being able to offer multiple plans from different cellular providers has served Velocity Wireless well.

Just surviving in the business has been no small feat either. Westlake said the industry is reeling right now and he wouldn't be surprised if some consolidation of the big companies that dominate the market started to occur.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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