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Exploring the new Frontier

WORTHINGTON -- People looking to add a phone line, check out Internet service rates, drop off a payment or ask a question about their phone bill might be surprised to find that the Frontier customer service office is no longer located in the storefront at 922 Fifth Ave.

But be not dismayed -- Frontier customer service still has a strong presence in the community. It's just switched locations, back to its long-ago home on Third Avenue, sandwiched between the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and Daily Globe buildings. The switch puts all the area Frontier operations under one roof.

"The main reason is we like to be local within the community," explained Todd Van Epps, Frontier general manager. "It brings me closer to our customers, offers more face-to-face interaction and allows me to come out and visit with the customer."

The move was facilitated by a remodeling project that carved out a reception space.

"Clair Van Grouw and his team did the construction, and they did a fantastic job for us," Van Epps said. "We like to keep everything local, and we like to deal with people who are our customers. For instance, we got the carpet from Rune's Furniture."

Customer service representative Lori Flatgard is there to greet customers who find the new location as well as those who call on the phone. A local representative who can handle any inquiries is important to Frontier, stressed Van Epps. Flatgard can conduct bill reviews, provide information about the various services that Frontier offers and handle any billing inquiries.

"If Lori doesn't answer, leave a number, and she'll call you back," Van Epps said. "She's fantastic when it comes to taking care of our customers."

During the hours when the local office isn't open, customers can contact the Frontier general customer service call center, which is located in the United States, Van Epps noted, not staffed by people in a foreign country.

Frontier provides phone, Internet and video services, and through its partnership with Dish Network will offer satellite broadband in the near future.

"We'll be able to serve the rural areas," Flatgard said.

"We are growing our partnership with Dish so we'll be able to offer better speeds further out," Van Epps added.

One of Dish Network's most popular packages locally is a Latino package, featuring programming geared toward that population, Flatgard noted.

Frontier provides its services to many of the communities surrounding Worthington, including Adrian, Avoca, Balaton, Bigelow, Chandler, Currie, Edgerton, Ellsworth, Hardwick, Iona, Jasper, Lake Wilson, Lakefield, Leota, Lismore, Okabena and Slayton.

"I've been here for almost six years and cover 43 exchanges and 28 employees," Van Epps said.

The new Frontier office is still a work in progress, but Van Epps wants customers to know they are open and ready for business. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone 372-4526.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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