AT&T celebrates Laurinburg opening

AT&T store owner/operator John Christie, far right, shows some merchandise to Laurinburg store manager LeCourtne’ Covington, left, and Regina Smalls, a manager of the North Carolina Department of Commerce Workforce Solutions.

Store employee Quinton Fairley helps Sherman Locklear make a payment.

LAURINBURG — At a ribbon-cutting marking the opening of Laurinburg’s AT&T store on Friday, members of the Scotland County/Laurinburg Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated an addition to the business community that has pledged to extend a hand beyond its strip-mall storefront.

“A lot of the time these big franchise corporations do not see the importance of being involved in the community,” said Chamber chair Lee Howell. “… They’ve jumped in with both feet.”

Owner/operator John Christie, who also owns authorized AT&T retailers in Laurinburg, Rockingham, Wadesboro and Hickory, said he has set his sights on helping to sponsor county athletics.

“We know it’s a big, big, big deal here,” he said. “Whatever the community embraces, we want to embrace with them.”

Formerly Alltell Wireless, the store re-branded as AT&T is located in the Walmart shopping center off U.S. 401. Ten people are employed at the Laurinburg location.

AT&T announced they were acquiring what was left of Alltell in January 2013, after much of the company was bought by Verizon. Service for 60,000 former Alltel wireless customers in North Carolina, including those in Alexander, Anson, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Montgomery, Richmond and Scotland counties, was launched in February.

Customers should see faster service with the new wireless network, which boasts 4G speeds, said John H Lyon, regional director of external affairs.

Store hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Abbi Overfelt can be reached at 910-506-3023.