Verizon’s retail facelift: New destination stores will showcase the internet of things

Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) unveiled its new destination store concept on Tuesday in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, showing off a massive floorspace more akin to an Apple(s aapl) store than a carrier’s usually cramped retail accommodations. What’s most striking about the new format is how phones take a backseat to a variety of internet of things gadgets and peripherals on display. Verizon EVP and COO Marni Walden said the new stores are meant to highlight all the objects and apps its network can connect both directly and indirectly. Verizon will be opening up several more of them starting in Chicago (perhaps not coincidentally where AT&T’s(s t) first showcase store is located).