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PingWi-Fi Locates Wi-Fi, ‘Distant Relative’ In Waterlogged Fargo

March 30th, 2009 · Tags:Cities · Coffee Shops · Wi-Fi

It wasn’t until my travels took me all the way to Fargo, N.D., that I encountered this phenomena.  I have read about it, and seen corporate news releases that warned it was going to happen.  Yes … in Fargo, I encountered two Starbucks that were out of business

Remember when the news came down that the green giant would be shutting hundreds of stores around the country?  Well … I found two of them.  I ain’t gonna lie.  The first one really chapped me too.  When I checked into my hotel in Fargo — a Comfort Suites — I was excited to see the unmistakable Bux logo about a half block from my hotel.  The first chance, i trudged over in the snow, only to find an empty building.  Dang.  Take the sign down people.

So … back to the hotel …

Good thing Comfort Suites has adequate Wi-Fi .. strong signal, but a little bit slow on the connection — compared to a CS just a few weeks ago in Philly  — 5 pings.

I chuckled when I saw the names of two businesses across the street from North Dakota State University. Next door to Jimmy John’s sandwich shop is a coffee joint called Jitters. Why this funny?
It is funny to me because when I was in college, I created a paranoid, tongue-in-cheek redneck character named “Jimmy Joe Jitters” — when I wrote for the college newspaper in Texas. So, I thought maybe these guys were distant relatives.

Closed To Volunteer, Wi-Fi Running

My JJJ back in the day, would ramble on (in jest) about the evils of art and culture … and open-mindedness and stuff like that. The joke: I was actually the arts editor at that paper, so it was sort of a guerilla ploy to create more attention for the arts. (I received some hilarious hate mail!)

I digress …

Well, today this redneck planned to sample some Jitters coffee and Wi-Fi and whatever Jimmy John had to offer. But, they had better things to do — and I mean that sincerely. Jimmy John, Jitters and Sandellas next door were all closed to join in the sandbagging efforts in Fargo.

Will Work For Flood

Will Work For Flood

Ain’t no thang! I just stood outside with my communicator in hand (Blackberry 8820 from T-Mobile) and sampled the Wi-Fi from the great outdoors. It was chilly, but the three retailers were putting out some nice Wi-Fi warmth. The networks I found were fairly strong out to the sidewalk and open — ready to go.

Wi-Fi and volunteerism … perfect scores for cuzzin Jimmy John, Jitters and Sandellas respectively.

Grounds Zero -- Atomic Cafe

Next I trekked on over to Atomic Café. It was closed too, for catastrophe prevention, I assume. So I stopped long enough to check for signal and to admire the psychedelic bison outside. Sioux-weeeeet. (Most U.S. cities have some mascot, and they put painted statues all over town: Cleveland –guitars; Dallas — pegasus; DC — pandas; Pensacola — pelicans; St. Paul — Peanuts characters … etc.) I dig the bisons, dude.

I will give Atomic Café the benefit of a doubt, and assume they were sandbagging over at ground zero while Wi-Fi was radiating from their core — 7 pings.

Next stop … I heard there was a cool coffee shop over on Main. So I headed on over expecting to take a photo of their locked door too. Big surprise. They were open.

I won’t lie, Babb’s Coffee House is the coolest coffee shop I visited in Fargo … even though it was the only one to that point …

Very cool place. Great “period” tin-tile ceilings, more easy chairs than any coffee shop I have seen, excellent Wi-Fi, funky modern art and some vintage neon. Only problem … no people. But of course, they were all off fighting in the war against Mo Nature.

Babb’s — Love the first name (lose the Seattle subtitle — in Fargo), $3.50 for a teabag is a bit steep — but overall … a new favorite — 6 pings.

Last stop, and old friend more commonly seen in Chicagoland and the Twin Cities, I believe — Caribou. I tracked west of downtown along 13th Avenue and spotted Caribou in retail area with all the earmarks of a more suburbia setting. Caribous are so cool — a nice blend of gourmet coffee with a rugged hunting lodge motif.

Babb's -- Warming Vols.

Babb's -- Warming Vols

The Caribou in West Fargo had great free Wi-Fi after I signed a consent form on the splash page … but frankly it was kind of a weird layout. The cafe was long and narrow, erasing any sense of coffee shop community. It was more like having a cup of joe on a train, only without moving scenery.

Caribou — I didn’t get what I ordered, so there goes one point on the rating, and there was just something lacking. Good Wi-Fi network though — 4 pings.

Know what I sayin?