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Off-beat: the first Best Buy location reopens in Puerto Rico

By Jules Wang December 16, 2017, 2:09 am

We normally don’t talk about press releases from corporate that involve a ribbon-cutting ceremony of a building, but given that there are only so many stories we can do about mobile technology’s role in the recovery of Puerto Rico, we’d figure that this would be a breathmint to a lot and some sign of progress.

Best Buy reopened its San Juan location yesterday after almost three months of hard work in the wake of two category five hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Shoppers lined up early in the morning to see Puerto Rican flags lining the aisles and deals on appliances, TV, phones, tablets and more.

POCKETNOW VIDEO OF THE DAY

Like some of the better companies out there, the big box tech retailer provided continuing pay, food and supplies during the evacuation and then the rebuilding process.

Alexis Fernandez, who works on the Geek Squad, was able to bring his family out of his house, but also lost two cars and pretty much everything else. He was one of the fortunate ones, though. And he’s even more fortunate to be back at work.

This gives us some sense of normalcy. When you get out, it’s not normal anymore. There’s too much traffic. The street lights aren’t working. You have no electricity. The hurricane’s not here anymore, but you can feel the effects. It’s hard.

There’s plenty more work that needs to be done in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands — the majority of cell towers are back up, but it’s still not at full capacity. Meanwhile, mesh networks created with mobile low-band transmitters like goTenna are creating new communities in mountainous regions. More stories to come.

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