Business

Charlotte car dealer revs showroom with kiosk

The shared co-working space at the C3Lab in South End becomes available for rent April 8. The 10,000-square-foot facility on Distribution Street includes a conference room, art studios and “makerspace.”
The shared co-working space at the C3Lab in South End becomes available for rent April 8. The 10,000-square-foot facility on Distribution Street includes a conference room, art studios and “makerspace.” GLYN A STANLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

▪ It’s one of the latest trends in car retail: Use technology to make the customer’s car-buying experience simple, easy and quicker than at the traditional dealership.

Sonic Automotive did it with its showrooms filled with iPads. Carvana does it by selling used cars online and delivering them to customers’ doors. And CarMax has built a brand around its no-haggle policy of selling an automobile.

RK Motors Charlotte, a seller of restored classic, muscle and high-performance cars, has jumped on the bandwagon with the debut of an interactive sales kiosk inside its north Charlotte showroom.

The kiosk – which comes outfitted with two tablets and a flat-screen television – allows guests, buyers and sellers to explore the dealer’s inventory, write reviews and easily access their Facebook and Twitter accounts so they can “check in” and post statuses, tweets and photos.

The kiosk “revs up the traditional classic car purchasing process into a higher gear,” Jeff Spiegel, RK Motors’ marketing director, said in a news release. “Showroom visitors and customers can now connect with us on social networks in a way that’s fun and memorable.”

Visitors who use the new kiosk will receive free T-shirts, hats and hoodies.

▪ Founding a business in a garage is great but it’s not for everyone. Some entrepreneurs want an actual office.

On Wednesday, Charlotte-area business owners will have another incubator from where they can accelerate their businesses and form innovative ideas.

C3Lab, a creative hub that joins together business owners, freelancers and artists, opens April 8 at 2525 Distribution St. in South End.

A news release touts it as a space that combines the best features of a home office, coffee shop, business space, community center and art studio. It’s 10,000 square feet of private and shared workspace furnished with a conference room, member lounge, event space, artist studios and an outdoor work area that will open this summer.

Shared space costs members $195 per month. The private office and lab station options run from $295 to $875 a month and costs for the artist studios and “makerspaces” range from $350 to $650 per month. Day passes 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday are $20.

▪ Alan Fitzpatrick, co-founder of Charlotte Hearts Gigabit and chief operating officer of DC74 Data Centers, will discuss how Google Fiber will benefit entrepreneurship, attract talent to the Queen City and was merely the first step in a “bigger” game plan. The free event starts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at 809 West Hill St. Go to bit.ly/1GLt8B7 to RSVP.

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