New Edge signs $14 million contract with GNC

New Edge Networks of Vancouver announced Wednesday that it has signed a contract with General Nutrition Centers to provide a high-speed network that will boost efficiency and improve customer service.

With the $14 million contract, New Edge Networks will build and manage a network to power GNC’s new point of sale system for more than 3,500 corporate owned and franchised retail outlets around the country.

Installation work is already under way in 150 GNC stores, according to New Edge spokesperson Sal Cinquegrani.
GNC is the largest specialty retailer of nutritional supplements. The stores sell vitamins, mineral, herbal and specialty supplements, as well as sports nutrition, diet and energy products.

The new network will improve network security and high-speed data communications, Cinquegrani said. GNC stores previously used a dial-up system that required 12 to 15 seconds. The new system, he said, will cut that time to two to three seconds.
The high-speed network will use a blend of DSL and frame relay access technologies. GNC has been using standard telephone connections for its business operations and processing credit card payments.

“We build high speed networks that allow businesses to link all locations together, giving them high speed access to point-of-sale and a faster card payment process,” said Cinquegrani.

The high speed system means that GNC’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh will be able to poll individual stores, to gather sales and inventory information.

“Having better insights means they can make smarter business decisions,” said Cinquegrani.

“New Edge Networks earned GNC’s business for demonstrating flexibility and designing a fully managed private network that uses a blend of access technologies – without traversing the public Internet,” said Jerry Werner, vice president and chief information officer for GNC in a statement.

New Edge is a subsidiary of EarthLink.