AT&T closes high-tech ‘Lounge’ and coffee bar in Seattle that was its most unique retail concept

The Lounge by AT&T featured an Ada’s Discovery Cafe in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Less than two years after opening a unique retail concept billed as a “second living room” for customers, AT&T is closing “The Lounge” in Seattle.

The telecommunications giant is shuttering the space in the Capitol Hill neighborhood as part of plans to close 250 retail locations and lay off thousands of employees, first reported in June. The website for Ada’s Discovery Cafe, a pop-up coffee counter which operated inside The Lounge, featured a statement about its closure.

“With more customers shopping online, we are closing a small percentage of our retail stores to reflect our customers’ shopping practices,” Jim Kimberly, director of corporate communications for AT&T, told GeekWire via email. “While these plans are not new, they have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

AT&T experimented with new technology at The Lounge to attract people to what it calls a “second living room” in the neighborhood. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

AT&T opened the high-tech store in September 2018, a first-of-its-kind concept for the company that was part retail outlet, part coffee shop and part gathering, events and workspace.

Jeff Bradley, West Coast region president for AT&T, called The Lounge a benchmark for the entire wireless industry when GeekWire visited in 2018.

“It’s a collection of services that’s designed to change the way we can engage with consumers,” Bradley said, adding that it was important to get the Capitol Hill “vibe” correct.

Back then the company said it planned to have one of the fastest growing retail footprints in the country as it looked to add 1,000 new store locations.

“We’re getting closer and more convenient to make shopping easier for customers, whether you’re in a big city or a small town,” AT&T said at the time. “The majority of AT&T customers purchase in one of our 5,300+ branded stores, even though most also begin their shopping online.”

Kimberly said Friday that most, if not all, employees at The Lounge were offered customer service roles with the company through its customer care organization. For those employees who do not find other positions, severance pay was being offered.

The coffee shop employees, part of Ada’s Technical Books & Cafe, were invited to join any of three Fuel Coffee locations that are now part of the Ada’s family.

AT&T closes high-tech ‘Lounge’ and coffee bar in Seattle that was its most unique retail concept AT&T closes high-tech ‘Lounge’ and coffee bar in Seattle that was its most unique retail concept Reviewed by TechCO on 7/18/2020 Rating: 5

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