Getting a new phone isn't usually an inspiring experience, but Verizon is hoping to revitalize its stores by replacing the gray carpet, plastic phone mockups, and single folding chair with wood floors, bar stools, and lots of open space. A new concept store in Toms River, NJ showcases "Evolution 2.0," which bears more than a passing resemblance to Apple's own Ikea-chic design. Perhaps more importantly, Verizon is also staffing up the store with 21 full-time employees, which will help with the delays that are part and parcel of visiting a Verizon store now.

Since this branch is just a test run, its success or failure will predict whether other stores get the same treatment. While there are similarities to the iconic Apple stores, many of these changes, like more working units or places to sit, look like unmitigated improvements. For reference, here's the Apple store in Hamburg below.

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