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Published March 07 2012

Fargo bars offer cellphone charging

FARGO – A new device in town is making it so you never have to worry about your cellphone dying at the bar again.

The LastCall Charging Locker, developed by Benjamin Holsen and Ross Brandborg of Fargo and Herb Lindberg of Minneapolis, allows bar patrons to charge their phones in a safe and secure manner.

The device was recently installed at The Hub after first being installed at Dempsey’s Public House in December.

A unit has four separate lockers, each of which are designed to charge only one phone at a time, and cost $1.95 for 30 minutes of charging, and 5 cents a minute after that, Holsen says.

Customers can use the device as many times a day as they want, and they’re only charged for one session, he adds.

The lockers are secure because when a customer pays with their Visa or Mastercard, the card locks or unlocks the locker, meaning that only that card can access the phone while it’s charging.

So far, the units seem to be catching the eye of bar patrons, with usage doubling from January to February, according to Holsen.

“It’s been going really good,” he says. “It’s really starting to gain popularity.”

Tim Bladow, a manager and bartender at Dempseys, says the machine there seems to be getting a lot of attention from bar patrons.

“Especially on the weekends, people are going over there to check it out,” Bladow says.

Moving ahead, the group has plans for expansion. There are already 10 other LastCall lockers that have been completed and will likely be placed in non-bar establishments in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

“We want to test a couple of different markets, like student unions or hospitals,” Holsen says.

And the group just recently decided to produce an additional 50 units, and perhaps eventually make their way into the Twin Cities market.

“Venues are now approaching us,” Holsen says of the lockers’ popularity. “We want to keep this going.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535

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