Business feature: Residents, businesses prepare for area code switch

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Eastern New Mexico residents and businesses are running out of time before the official switch from the 505 to the 575 area code.

The grace period to make the switch is Sunday.

David Rael of City Printing in Clovis has been reminding his customers about the switch over the past year.

“We remind them that it’s happening and ask if they’d like us to change it,” said Rael, who noted a corresponding uptick in business.

“Customers are redoing letterheads and especially business cards,” he said. “Most wait to redo it until they run out of their current stuff. But business has definitely picked up over it for the last six months.”

Don Thomas with The Print Shop in Portales said that the area code switch has been a factor in their printing for the past year.

“We’ve been working on it all year long,” Thomas said. “People are trying to remember and get it changed.”

Businesses are also updating phone numbers on signs, according to Nichole Wilson, an employee at New Graphic Designs in Clovis.

“Most people are trying to replace the phone number of the sign instead of replacing the whole sign,” Wilson said.

At the beginning of the year, Wilson said that any new sign order with a phone number on it was automatically given the 575 area code.

“We wouldn’t want them to have to change their sign again,” she said.

Out-of-state customers calling into New Mexico will not get a recording, making it important to update communication lists, business cards and letterheads.

Leslie Candy Co. does most of its business with out-of-state customers. Greg Southard, president of the Clovis-based company, said the company sent out a notice in June to all their customers asking them to update their contact information.

“We’ve had enough advance warning that we’re ready for it,” Southard said.

Cell phone customers who have not made the switch may find themselves out of service.

“The phone won’t register at all if they fail to switch,” said Jenny Weaver, spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless. “It is critical (that) people get their phones switched over.”

Alltell spokesman Scott Morris said the company has been contacting customers for the past year, reminding them to make the 575 switch on their phones.

Fast facts:

• Wireless customers should contact their provider for information on how to switch their cell phones to the 575 area code.
• Landline or cellular telephone customers who experience problems after Oct. 5 can contact the Public Regulations Commission for assistance at 1-888-427-5772.
The commission will contact phone companies to solve consumer issues.

Source: The Associated Press