In 1992 after graduating from Iowa State University, Mitzi Ecklund was working her first job as a salesperson at U.S. Cellular. She was a great fit for the job. She had a knack for working with customers and showing them she cared about their needs. Soon Mitzi realized people were coming to the store specifically to work with her. By the end of the year, she found herself ranking among the top 4% in the entire company earning her the honor of Presidents Club.
A year later, Mitzi was given the opportunity to own and operate her own U.S. Cellular locations working as an agent, and that’s when Cellular Advantage, Inc. was born. Along with her husband Doug, who now works as President and CEO of the company, they opened two Cellular Advantage locations in Des Moines, Iowa.
They moved from a one bedroom to a two bedroom apartment so they could have a home office. With stores open seven days a week, Mitzi and Doug were staying busy keeping the company going. At the time, cell phones were primarily used by contractors, attorneys, and doctors. The team at Cellular Advantage served their clients with direct sales people. Though they are often forgotten now, the early 90’s were a time when people were using brick phones and bag phones with giant batteries. Since cell phones were only starting to gain popularity, the two Des Moines locations had a slow start.
As cell phones gained mainstream popularity, traffic in the Cellular Advantage retail locations began to increase. In the mid 1990’s, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Nextel were all added to the portfolio of products that we were able to sell. Due to the increase in products, four more Des Moines area locations were added, tripling our existing stores, for a total of six.
In 2002 U.S. Cellular approached Cellular Advantage with an offer to become an exclusive national U.S. Cellular agent. To qualify, we were required to grow our business to 25 locations in four states within one year. Cellular Advantage was only one of four companies chosen from a pool of 450 to become a national U.S. Cellular agent. After taking some time to think things over, the Ecklund’s decided the opportunity to grow Cellular Advantage was too good to pass up, and they accepted the offer.
Projections were created, debt was secured, and the clock started ticking. We needed to add 19 Cellular Advantage locations in 12 months in three additional states. Transitioning from a local business to a business operating in 4 states, we faced many new challenges and nearly grew it into the ground. This called for new skills, processes and controls that weren’t as crucial in the first stages of Cellular Advantage. We were growing into new areas where we didn’t know the client base. We couldn’t simply stop by all of our stores in one day, so we had a lot of planning to do.
By 2005, we started to look at things differently. We asked ourselves, “Why are we really in business?” A Purpose statement was created along with our four Core Values. This was a huge turning point for the team at Cellular Advantage as well as our customers.
Today, Cellular Advantage has become one of the top places in the Midwest to buy U.S. Cellular approved phones and plans. Not only do our customers enjoy visiting our stores, our employees also enjoy working here. Learn more about us and see what we have to offer by stopping by your nearest Cellular Advantage location today.
We’re the people you want to buy your phone from. We offer an extraordinary level of service and take pride in providing you with service that will exceed your expectations and enrich your life. We want you to feel great after each and every interaction in our stores. Our staff are some of the most knowledgeable, seasoned, longest-serving people in wireless who can answer your questions and solve your problems. We take pride in being some of the most resilient, solution-minded people in the industry.
We are here to find the best solution for you and your wireless needs, whether you’re shopping for a new plan, new cell phone, or new tablet. Our team members take the time to learn about you and your unique cell phone needs. You’ll work with a Cellular Advantage staff member who will personally get to know you and serve your needs from start to finish. We’ll match the best products and services to your specific situation so you can be assured you’ll leave our cell phone store happy.
Cellular Advantage doesn’t just sell phones, tablets, and cell phone plans. We wouldn’t be who we are without you, our customers. Our customers are people who stick around. They know they can call us when something goes wrong, and they also know that we will be able to help. Our customers know they can get the newest products and services available from us, and trust that we will provide sound solutions to their problems.
How can we serve you today? Really. Send us a message. Visit a store. Give us a call. We’re here to help.