Inside Circuit City’s “The City”
“To me, The City stores actually look bigger inside, with a much wide-open format,” said Richmond-based Circuit City spokesman Jim Babb. “Our typical stores in the 80’s were in a 34,000-square-feet footprint. We had stores with massive warehouses because we were selling major appliances. Today, the 20,000-sqaure-feet footprint does everything we need. We still get about 16,000 square feet of selling space.”
Aside from the demo-rich outlay of the new stores, the hundreds of “partners” (what The City calls its 80 percent Gen Y tribe of salespeople) are a strong customer draw, Raynor said. 19-year-old partner Martha Genao roams the Manhattan store in a fitted black T-shirt - uniforms at The City are t-shirts, black belts, and jeans - that says “ignite your passions” across the chest. She’s quick to welcome customers. She admitted to not being a techie when she first took the job. But she can quickly find out anything she needs to know using the Fujitsu tablet PC which is literally strapped to her left hand as she moves about the store’s aisles. The search-and-compare function on the tablet’s touch screen helps her pick out appropriate products and tells her what’s currently in stock.
“You wouldn’t believe the questions we get,” Genao said with a laugh. “This lady came in once and asked for one of those ‘U-Pods’! But I love talking to people, they’re funny.”