Fidelity’s Gerald office will return to where it began

Linda Trest

Many Gerald residents were unhappy to learn that Fidelity Communications would be closing their office in Gerald at the end of April. Evidently enough unhappy residents let Fidelity know how they felt. After hearing from them, Fidelity has come up with a compromise.

The office will be moved back to its original location at 14 W. Fourth Street, next to the Post Office, but it will only be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning May 1. A drop slot for payments will be available for customers. Krista Skornia will continue to help Gerald customers in the office and on the phone on those two days.  Skornia was going to be assigned to the Sullivan office to replace an employee who had retired. Now she will split her week between that office and the one in Gerald.

“After listening to our Gerald customers and employees, we understand the importance of the Gerald office,” states Don Knight, general manager. “It holds a lot of history. Krista feels very passionate about Gerald and is happy to be staying in Gerald two days a week. ”

Fidelity’s Teresa McKinney said  when the company began handling AT&T’s cell phone service they needed a larger space. It was then they moved the Gerald office to Citizen Bank plaza. 

Fidelity no longer handles AT&T service. More and more of Fidelity’s customers pay their bills online or over the phone. Foot traffic in the office had decreased to the point where the company felt it was not cost effective to keep paying rent on office space. 

Customers convinced Fidelity that having an office in Gerald was more than just a convenience, to them it was a necessity. A letter from Fidelity assured Gerald customers that the Owensville office was “less than 10 miles away.”  Some questioned that mileage estimate.

In any case, the drive to Owensville will no longer be necessary. 

McKinney said that Fidelity plans to still be a presence in Gerald no matter where the offices are located. They will continue supporting Gerald Elementary School, and participating in community events. 

The Gerald exchange was purchased in July of 1958 from United Telephone and called it Bourbeuse Telephone.  At that time, there were only 517 phones. Today, Bourbeuse Telephone is now called Fidelity Communications and offers telephone, Internet and TV services to homes and business in five states.