Store adds appliances in major remodel

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  • Bob Bridges, general manager at Best Buy in Kalispell on Wednesday, June 19. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Wider vertically oriented aisles display smart-home devices near the front of Best Buy. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Bob Bridges, general manager at Best Buy in Kalispell on Wednesday, June 19. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Wider vertically oriented aisles display smart-home devices near the front of Best Buy. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

A month-long remodel of the Kalispell Best Buy store has introduced a completely redesigned layout and household appliances that offer cutting-edge technology.

The consumer electronics retail store had not been updated since opening in Kalispell in 2005. That all changed a month ago, when Best Buy’s projects team began working through the night to overhaul the North Kalispell store.

“Technology is now being designed around how we use it,” Best Buy General Manager Bob Bridges said.

The remodel reflects that mindset. The new appliance department has replaced under-utilized products such as movies and CDs with large household necessities such as refrigerators, washers and dryers. These state-of-the-art devices come with functional innovations such as see-through refrigerator doors and freezer drawers that can thaw frozen food through a smartphone application.

Previously, Kalispell consumers had the options of viewing these devices at in-store kiosks or online through the Best Buy website or other online retailers. The recent transformation now offers the opportunity to experience these innovations in person, Bridges said.

The updated Best Buy now serves as a one-stop shop where customers can find these smart-home appliances and all of their compatible devices, such as smartphones, watches and cameras—under one roof. Bridges believes Best Buy’s convenience and innovation give it a competitive edge over retailers who specialize in home appliances or computers.

The remodeled Best Buy has nearly tripled its collection of these interconnected devices they call Connected Home technologies. These products are now located near the store entrance, adjacent to the new appliance department, while television screens have been relocated to the back of the store. For a more user-friendly experience, the walkways are now wider and more maneuverable.

Best Buy’s projects team completed the remodel over the course of a month of overnight work that did not interrupt the store’s daytime business operations. The company’s corporate office in the Pacific Northwest sent the team as part of a comprehensive remodeling effort across many of their stores.

Bridges said community members have been pleasantly surprised to find their familiar Best Buy rearranged and stocked with new appliances. He appreciates the loyalty of consumers in the Flathead Valley, and he relishes the opportunity to provide them with new products and services. For instance, the Kalispell location is now a fully authorized Apple service provider where Apple users in the Flathead can take any of their products for service.

The store also holds a unique status in an area that receives millions of visitors every summer. Because of the relatively low cost of technology in the U.S. and the absence of a state sales tax in Montana, many international and domestic tourists seize the opportunity to stock up on devices while visiting the Kalispell area.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.

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