I've lived in Chicago all of my life. I do love it. I love the culture. Chicago is known for it's many historic and diverse neighborhoods. Lincoln Park is one of those. Nestled on the near North side of Chicago, it is minutes from downtown, yet at times you feel like you are not in Chicago at all. The neighborhood is full of historic brownstones, houses, and apartment buildings. There are also plenty of small neighborhood shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Intel took advantage of the unique and close-knit vibe of this neighborhood and opened a pop-up store. The Intel Pop-Up Shop is located at 901 W. Armitage Ave. One look at the space and you realize that it used to be a restaurant. But Intel has done a great job of converting the space to a very cozy tech paradise.
The grand opening was a bit wild, but it was certainly fun. I got to watch the ribbon cutting. And right after guests were allowed to enter the store.
Everyone was greeted very warmly and allowed to choose a number off a huge board. They were then directed to the information desk where a very enthusiastic Intel employee pushed a couple of buttons on the computer (Wheel of Fortune style), and revealed their prizes. Guests won Best Buy gift cards ranging from $5 – $100. And I was told that they were even given away a few devices, but I must have missed that action. I was a bit unlucky that day. Out of all the numbers on the board, mine netted only a $5 gift card. Oh well. 🙂 Guests on either side of me picked up $50 and $100 gift cards. Lucky folks. 🙂
During the launch, residents of Lincoln Park were gifted with “I love Lincoln Park” hoodies. I was able to snag one. It is sooo comfy! I've been wearing it every day to keep warm in my office. 🙂
If you enter the store at different times of the day, you may just get a completely different experience. They convert the store 3 times a day. There is a setup for morning, lunch time, and evening. Everything in the store is mobile. The tables, desks, and displays are all on wheels so that they can be easily moved and reconfigured. There are different activities going on at different times a day. One of those activities is for young inventors. They get to use the space to work out their vision. And it is all for a good cause. In the end Intel will make a donation to one of 10 local charities in the inventor's name.
Intel understands the importance of small business and the community in Lincoln Park. Each day they feature food from a local restaurant. There is also free coffee on hand. And if that is not enough, they offer a loaner program. Want to check out that newest tablet for yourself? Just leave your credit card and ID on file, and you can take one our on loan for 24 hours. Of course if you don't bring it back you will be charged!
There is also a huge viewing area that shows sporting events, local TV, and other special events. As you can see Wendy Williams was on when I was there. LOL.
Right now there are 3 such pop-up stores in the US. Chicago is the largest location, with other stores currently operating in New York City, and Los Angeles. The store is slated to be open until January 25, 2014. If you are in the area of one of the stores, definitely check it out. It is worth the visit.