Stewart's Shops Testing TVs in Stores

Deal with Capital News 9 would place sets in all locations for news, weather, more
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- -- Stewart's Shops is considering placing large flat-screen TVs in stores across the Capital Region, in partnership with Capital News 9, the channel owned by Time Warner Cable, according to a report by The Times Union. The chain already has installed TVs in stores in Ballston Spa and Wilton, N.Y., tests the company is using to gauge customer reaction.

Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Stewart's is also trying to determine where in each store it should place the sets, and whether they should be muted, said the report.

In the Ballston Spa [image-nocss] store, the set hangs above a cashier's head as she waits on customers. The volume, though, was off, and few store visitors even glanced at the 42-inch screen, the report said.

"Some people see it. Some don't," Tom Mailey, spokesperson for Stewart's, told the newspaper. "I guess that's a testament to the number of TVs that a lot of us have in our homes."

Mailey added that the broadcasts garner a lot of attention when there's severe weather or breaking news.

He said Stewart's is only in early discussions with Time Warner about the arrangement. It is likely, though, that Stewart's and Time Warner would share the cost of installing cable and placing the TVs in about 300 of the company's 321 stores. For the all-news station launched in 2002, the appeal of having its broadcasts in Stewart's is obvious, as the store is about the only retailer that nearly every resident of the Capital Region visits at one time or another, said the report.

The TVs might irritate customers, particularly if their volume interferes with customer service, the Times Union speculated. That is a concern Stewart's is weighing, Mailey said.

In other company news, more than a dozen Stewart's employees recently participated in the Plattsburgh, N.Y., Relay for Life. The event included teams who spent hours fundraising to support the fight against cancer. The Stewart's employees from the greater Plattsburgh region formed a team and sold ice cream cones at the relay. The team donated a total of $2,000 to the American Cancer Society. This year marked the 10th straight year that Stewart's employees have participated in the relay.

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