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A Whiff of Wi-Fi

Something smells like profits in this hot-spot bakery.

By Mike Hogan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A little Wi-Fi with that baguette, madame? Le Boulanger(, a family-owned bakery inSunnyvale, California, wanted a broadband network among its 19Northern California stores. So it let Hotspotzz Network ( pay the freight in return for making its stores "hotspots," where customers can e-mail or surf the Web wirelesslyas they munch and sip.

The 18-month-old network not only garners Le Boulanger goodwill,but also about $500 in extra business per store per month, figuresCFO Scott Brunello. Le Boulanger uses its Web site and the networkto broadcast specials to customers via virtual coupons. The 802.11bsignal can reach Wi-Fi-equipped PCs up to 300 feet from each storetransceiver, and tech-oriented Silicon Valley-ites often e-mailahead to check Wi-Fi availability before scheduling a meeting.

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