LINCOLN PARK — A gadget shop has popped up in Lincoln Park, but you can't actually buy anything there.
The Intel Experience Store store at 901 W. Armitage Ave. has dozens of tablets and laptops to peruse and tech experts on hand to answer questions, but the only sales rung up in the store are online — through Best Buy.
"We want people in the neighborhood coming by," said store manager Jennifer Lohnstein, describing the shop as a "pressure-free zone."
About 15 local businesses offer a handful of free events at the shop each day, such as morning coffee from Interurban Cafe and Pastry Shop, yoga classes from Flow Pilates and Wellness and pizza from Bacino's during a football game screened on a 14-by-8-foot TV.
Artist Margarita Korol, 27, who lives in Old Town and was voted The Reader's best new visual artist of 2013, is also in the shop one to two days a week as a "tech disrupter," interacting with kids as she takes apart old electronics and makes them into art.
Those local, neighborhood partnerships were the reason Lincoln Park was chosen as the location, said Sean Ludick, general manager of sales and channel development for Intel.
"We decided that we didn't want to hit a Times Square or a Magnificent Mile," Ludick said. "We really wanted to go into where people live. We wanted to be part of a community."
The store also takes old electronics for recycling, making a $5 donation for each drop-off that will go toward area schools that have yet to be named. The goal is to reach $20,000, Lohnstein said.
"We all have [old electronics] sitting around the house," Lohnstein said. "People are excited to get it out of their homes."
The store had raised about $150 by Monday, one week after opening.
The Experience Store, one of three from Intel nationwide, will be open until Jan. 25. A list of events is released weekly here.
Local businesses can still become involved in partnering with the store for events, Ludick said.