Opinion: Why does Lebanon have so many cell phone stores? Probably because we all use them

2 min readPosted August 11, 2019

Do you know the Samler Building?

I’ll admit that when I first heard the name I was left quizzically scratching my head, but after a quick Google search I let out a loud, “Oh, THAT Place!”

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The Samler Building is like actor Wallace Shawn. You may not know the name, but you’ve seen the face a thousand times.

Recently, it was announced that a new business would be occupying the Samler Building. Immediately, a buzz began to permeate social media with users pitching what they hoped would move into the coveted piece of real-estate on the corner of 8th and Cumberland.

Would it be something cool and new, never before seen in Lebanon? Some I’m sure hoped for an Olive Garden — which, judging by the overall consensus on Facebook, is Lebanon’s Holy Grail of eateries.

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However, as it turns out it’s not going to be any of those things. It’s going to be a cell phone store, more specifically, a Metro by T-Mobile store.

The words “cell phone store” alone are enough to make many locals roll up their sleeves, clench their fists, and unleash an unholy diatribe in the comment section of the nearest social media post.

Are there already a plethora of stores in Lebanon County in which you can pick out your new smartphone? Absolutely, but that’s because everyone uses them. That’s why you see gas stations, banks, and cell phone stores coming to town in droves; but blacksmiths, coopers, and apothecaries are a little bit harder to find nowadays.

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There’s even a good chance you’re reading this on a smartphone right now. You had to get it somewhere, and I doubt you dug it up in the backyard.

No, you waltzed into AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc., and perused their selection of phones, chose one, and then spent far more time trying to set everything up than you had intended, forcing you to cancel your plans for the evening.

Others — more glass half-full types of people — see anything taking up previously vacant retail space as a major plus for Downtown Lebanon.

While that’s generally true, in this instance there’s a bit of a hitch: the new Metro by T-Mobile store coming to the Samler Building will mean that Metro’s current location at 765 Cumberland Street will be closing.

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So, while one vacancy is filled, another one could open. It’s like real estate whack-a-mole.

Essentially, it’s a wash… at least until this newest retail vacancy becomes a cell phone store too, and we all happily start griping again.

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