Lee Novotny is please to ipen a new Verizon Wireless retail store in Chatfield.  It is located nest to Magnum Sports on Main Street.
Lee Novotny is please to ipen a new Verizon Wireless retail store in Chatfield. It is located nest to Magnum Sports on Main Street.
Lee Novotny wants to unwire people to connect.

They can go wherever they want, but he'll carry them.

"Everybody's connected," said Novotny, proprietor of the newly-opened Magnum Wireless, LLC, an authorized retailer of Verizon Wireless. The new store is located next door to Magnum Sports in Chatfield.

Novotny, who is also Fillmore County's assistant attorney and operates a small law practice in Chatfield, explained that he decided to become a Verizon retailer because it's the predominant carrier in the area.

"Most people have it, and we wanted to bring quality service here," he added. "We wanted to be able to provide local options to subscribers instead of them having to drive to Rochester. We'll be able to provide more personal service than what a person might get from going to other stores."

He continued, "One of our goals has been to help Chatfield flourish and get more businesses here, to be one of the businesses here, and having the store here allows us to provide service from Verizon for local businesses and individuals."

Novotny feels that the rural areas surrounding Chatfield are underserved by Internet and cell phone carriers, but the advent of Verizon's Internet service could change that.

"One of the thoughts and reasons behind this is that there are a certain amount of people in the area, in Fillmore and Olmsted counties, that have difficulty getting Internet service in the country, like in Pilot Mound," he added. "We think that Verizon's Internet service is a good option for people in our area. There used to be Midwest Wireless and Clearwave, but they all went away, so now we've got Verizon's HomeFusion broadband, and everything goes on a cell phone plan."

Furthermore, he stated, "Verizon redid its plans so that everything is shared. There's no such thing as 'minutes' anymore. We have unlimited minutes and texting and data is on a shared plan with whoever's on the plan."

His brother, Paul Novotny, owns the entire Magnum Sports building, which made the choice of locations easy.

"This building is ideal because it's owned by Paul, who owns Magnum Sports. He had the open space, and it was ideal with a connection between the two to renovate the space," he added. "This is the ideal size - not too large, not too small...just right. We started renovating in March, and the process took a while."

Novotny finds it rewarding that a room that used to be a small engine repair shop has not transitioned into a fully finished store.

He related, "We got to design the layout, decide where the fixtures would be, where to put all the Verizon displays. Currently, we have room for 24 phones on display, and we have a specific iPhone display so everybody can come and get their iPhone."

He encountered learning experiences while preparing to open the store.

Novotny related, "One of the challenges was meeting the requirements of a large corporation like Verizon, such as getting the right sign, getting the proper computer systems so we can log into, change or open new accounts and communicate with Verizon Wireless."

He explained that the training process was extensive and they started from the ground up, learning all the cell phone options. They had to know all the differences because the cell phone industry is ever-changing, and there's probably a new phone every three months, along with plans and pricing.

He added, "One of the things I found interesting through the training process is that I realized we're paying too much for my family's own cell phone plan and that we should change it."

Novotny has high hopes for his wireless store.

"Our aspiration is to service southeast Minnesota and keep our focus here. We're extremely optimistic," he added. "We'll start by being open seven days a week, though our hours haven't been set yet. We're thinking maybe 10 in the morning until 8 at night so people coming home from work in Rochester can stop in on their way home. I'll probably work here some, and there'll be between two to four employees. I'll be the main guy, but we want people to know that this is a locally and privately owned authorized Verizon retailer."

Novotny anticipated opening the store this past Friday, May 3. "We invite people to come in and look at their accounts, and we'll analyze them and see if we can provide more affordable options and explain new products, and they can check out the newest phones. We'll have a grand opening sometime soon," he concluded.