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Drive-Through Cellular Store Gives New Meaning to Mobile Phones

January 12, 1993

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ What’s billed as the world’s only drive-through mobile phone store opened Tuesday, with carhop-like hostesses offering cappuccino along with menus of models, parts and services.

Cellular Specialists aims to cut the wait for a cellular phone from an hour to 10 minutes - a lure of interest in a city where the car is king, time is dear and some of the biggest deals get done via portable phones.

″It’s a lot like drive-up hamburgers or a wedding window (in Las Vegas),″ said publicist Chris Harris.

″You drive up, a lovely young concierge meets you and offers you a cappuccino, maybe a little tart or a croissant - whatever they have that day - and she hands you a menu.″

The store was the idea of Bob Neman, who said he wants customers to avoid high-pressure sales pitches as well as delays. Shoppers select from the menu, then wait during a credit check for a mobile phone number from PacTel Cellular, one of the area’s mobile phone networks.

Prices run a bit high compared with large electronics stores, but the attraction is service, not cost.

″Service has really hit rock bottom in this country. The smile is gone,″ Harris said. ″Here, the people are drilled to smile and look directly at the customer.″