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Kiosks Bring Convenience to RTP Employees

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — For full-time workers, it is not always easy to run errands or shop for a gift on their lunch hours. A Research Triangle Park company is helping its employees by providing shopping at work.

Sweet Tea and Grits, a successful gift shop at Raleigh's City Market, is bringing its inventory to shoppers. The owner opened two kiosks atNortel Networks'Gateway Building at RTP.

"Because of some of the challenges some folks have in coming downtown and finding the treasures of downtown, it's helpful for us to come out in the larger community to enlarge our customer base," says shopowner Betsy Hunt.

Nortel wanted to add shopping to its Town Square, which includes a cafeteria. It is part of the company's strategy to make life easier for its workers.

"We recognize that employees are spending a lot longer hours, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to take care of the things they need to do without having to lose so much time away from work," says Nortel's Allen Lane.

The plan calls for Sweet Tea and Grits to provide its goods at Nortel for at least a couple of months. Then, Nortel plans to rotate suppliers on a month-to-month basis.

Employees seem to like it.

"I love it," says Jim Simpkins, a Nortel employee. "It's convenient, very convenient. I mean, why would you want to drive when you can shop at work?"

Nortel hopes the service will also help the company, when it shops around for new employees.

The kiosks are part of a six-month-long trial. If they work well, Nortel might add them to more of its buildings.

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Laurie Clowers, Reporter
Chad Whisnant, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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