Nextel ends agreement with Troup Electronics, leaving customers searching
By Sherri Cauthon - Staff Writer
September 11, 2001
Nextel customers who bought their cell phones from Troup Electronics Inc. are looking elsewhere for service and accessories.
The Jackson Crossing Comtronics
Citizen Patriot · Megan Moor
David Fagan, left, 16, of Jackson is assisted by Tim Riker, a salesperson at the Comtronics/Nextel kiosk, at the Jackson Crossing Mall on Saturday afternoon.
Nextel Communications, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of digital wireless phone service, recently sent letters to more than 10,000 Nextel cellular phone customers with accounts established through Troup notifying them that Troup is no longer an authorized Nextel dealer.
Nextel terminated a five-year arrangement with Troup Electronics Inc., 1510 Springport Road, when it shut down the company’s phone service and Web site access July 26, Troup President Steve Hoover said.
Hoover said it was a well-organized move that came without notice or statement listing the infractions of the contract.
“Nextel’s actions forced us to lay off two-thirds of our work force and legal counsel has been in place since 24 hours after this happened.” Hoover said. “The only people they really hurt were our employees and their families.”
Linda Jennings, Midwest director of corporate communications for Nextel, said Troup violated its contract.
“When Nextel chooses to not work with a dealer, it’s for a cause, that’s all we can say at this point,” Jennings said. She added that Hoover “was made aware on numerous occasions” that Troup was in danger of losing its contract.
“It’s in our best interest to have all our dealers be successful,” she said.
Hoover said the termination was devastating, but the company, established by his grandfather in 1947, has since changed its business philosophy and will rebound from the loss.
“We’ll be just fine and it gives us the opportunity to have a multitude of wireless carrier plans and services to better fit our customers’ needs,” he said. Nextel’s letter directed customers to other dealers, including Comtronics, 315 Water St., and Orbit Tech, 800 Wildwood Ave.
John A. Campau, president and CEO of Comtronics, said the company stands to profit from future equipment sales and service on existing Nextel accounts.
“Nearly 60 percent of sales in a month are add-on sales to existing contracts,” Campau said. “Businesses add an employee or individuals decide to get their spouse or child a phone. That’s where we will benefit.”
Comtronics, a Nextel dealer of more than two years, agreed to open additional retail locations and continue expansion statewide. Comtronics has five locations in Jackson as well as stores in Chelsea, Marshall, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Charlotte and Lansing.
Campau said he reached an agreement with Meijer Inc. to establish Comtronics kiosks in 21 Meijer stores by January. The kiosks will offer Nextel products, alarm systems and satellite service.
A kiosk is scheduled to open at the Jackson Meijer on Airport Road later this month. An additional seven kiosks are scheduled to open prior to Nov. 1 in Meijer stores statewide, Campau said.
Comtronics’ expansion includes hiring additional sales and technical support people and Campau said 20 former Troup employees were hired and put to work less than a week after being laid off.
“We’re not happy about what happened to Troup,” he said, “but we are very excited about what it means for us.”
Reprinted with permission from The Jackson Citizen Patriot
Copyright September 2001