AT&T opens on Chapel

A new phone is ringing at 936 Chapel St.: an AT&T store has opened for business.

Wedged between Dunkin’ Donuts and Dynasty Jewelers across from the New Haven Green, the store opened early this month, replacing the Edge tattoo parlor, which shuttered two years ago.

“I think an AT&T store is better than a tattoo parlor,” said Ward 7 Alerwoman Frances “Bitsie” Clark, whose ward encompasses the store. “AT&T’s at least a company that’s got some sort of prestige.”

Clark, an AT&T subscriber, said the tattoo parlor was an inappropriate use of the commercial space but added that the current store’s black facade is unappealing.

“I really like that there’s an AT&T here,” said Arti Patel, a Dunkin’ Donuts cashier, who works next door. “I was over there a few days ago to pay my bill.”

She said having the retailer close by has been a gift, and she is certain she will stay with the carrier when her contract ends next month.

The storefront’s windows are almost empty and the only decorations are two small advertisements for new Samsung phones. Inside, the walls are equally bare — the widely-spaced shelves are stocked with a limited selection of phones and accessories.

“It is kind of empty,” said New Haven resident Mary Swain, a T-Mobile user standing in Dunkin Donuts Wednesday evening. “But it’s new, it’s still growing.”

Swain, a former AT&T customer, said she may consider switching back to her original carrier now that there’s a store downtown. But for the time being she will have to remain on her children’s T-Mobile plan because, she explained, “I’m homeless and my kids take care of it.”

Storeowner Pete Persano did not return phone messages seeking comment Thursday night, and Rich Baldino, the store’s sales manager, declined to comment. The store is an authorized reseller, not a corporate branch.

The new shop also appeals to Yalies, four students said. The students, who are internationals, said before the store opened it was inconvenient to sign up for a AT&T plan. But now, they said, it is just as easy to sign up for AT&T as for T-Mobile.

Charlotte Wang ’12, from Montreal, said when she arrived at Yale the only wireless carriers within walking distance were T-Mobile and Sprint.

At the time she chose T-Mobile because she had heard it was cheaper than Sprint, she said. But this summer, she said she subscribed to AT&T while doing an internship in Texas so she could have an iPhone.

“It’s a great idea,” Wang said of the new AT&T location. “It just gives students more choice.”

Founded in 1983, AT&T is the largest provider of local, long distance telephone services in the United States and has over 150 million customers.

Gabriel Barcia contributed reporting.

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