FARMINGTON — In a twist on its big box business model, retailer Best Buy has opened a small store in Animas Valley Mall that offers mobile devices and accessories.

The Best Buy Mobile store is only about 1,400 square feet, far smaller than Best Buy's recognizable blue-and-yellow big box stores.

"These stores can be very profitable," said manager Jarrod Gilmer.

Best Buy Mobile offers cell phones, accessories and contracts, along with tablets such as the Amazon Kindle, MP3 players and other devices.

"Anything that's mobile," Gilmer said.

Best Buy has opened 410 Mobile stores since the concept debuted in 2006. The Minnesota-based company also has more than 1,000 big-box stores, including one at 3520 E. Main St. in Farmington.

The company has gone through an extensive transformation, including announcing plans last month to lay off 400 workers at company headquarters.

Mobile stores "were done to try to make it easy for consumers to take care of things like phones and tablets," said Jeff Shelman, a Best Buy spokesman.

Employees are trained to be able to upgrade customers' phones, take trade-ins or get customers to a new mobile phone provider. Staff can also transfer customer's contacts and set up their new phones.

"You walk out working," Shelman said.

In addition to the in-demand iPhone, BlackBerry unveiled a new phone, the Z10, on Friday. Samsung phones also remain popular.


"There are a lot of good devices, and what's the right fit for one person might not be the best fit for the next person, depending on what they use their phone for," Shelman said.

These days, consumers are using their phones for everything from Internet surfing to email.

"We've seen growth in smart phones," Shelman said. "We've been seeing growth, and we expect it's going to continue."

Most customers shop either for a specific phone, or stick with their service provider and choose a phone based on what they offer.

"We can help both those kinds of people," Shelman said.

The store, located near the center of the mall, opened March 17.

During a grand opening last week, Francis Mitchell performed a traditional Navajo blessing and the drum group Smoke Stack performed.

Animas Valley Mall is owned by Rouse Properties Inc., which was spun off from General Growth Properties in January 2012. The mall is approximately 500,000 square feet.

"As a general rule, we have been really actively looking for good spots where there's both a good market and good malls with good available locations," Shelman said.

Chuck Slothower may be reached at; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter