Smart Market opens in EPIC

Date Published: 
Monday, January 9, 2017

CRI Campus just got smarter!

A Smart Market self-checkout retail spot has opened in room 1209 of the EPIC building. What makes it smart? It's filled with fuel that thinking people need, like fresh coffee brewed by the cup, snacks, energy and soft drinks, grab-and-go meals and sandwiches. And it's powered by infrared, thumbprint recognizing, multi-camera technology to make shopping simple and secure (and very cool). Over 300 products are available, whenever the building is open.

"I'm extremely excited to have a Smart Market here," said Rick Torres, vending program manager for UNC Charlotte Auxiliary Services. "Student and staff requests and our own surveys indicated both desire and need for a quick service food and beverage venue on the CRI-side of campus. And because so many people work in labs at off-hours and late at night, the concept would ideally need to accommodate them, too. Smart Market is a perfect fit!" 

Photo of Smart Market vending area Photo of Starbucks Coffee brewing machine in Smart Market

How Smart Market works  

  • Use a credit or debit card at the main kiosk or at any door. Just swipe and start shopping! Your cart will follow you throughout the entire shopping trip, going from one cooler door to the next until you’re ready to check out.  As selections are made, the system tracks the items you pick up using patented infrared technology, displaying your shopping cart at each door. Adding items to the cart does not commit you to buy; there's plenty of time to browse and change your mind. The system only charges for items that you take away.
  • Once your shopping is complete and choices are collected, visit the main kiosk to review your order, print a detailed receipt, or simply walk away. Each transaction closes out within sixty seconds.
  • If you prefer to pay with cash or plan to visit Smart Market often, create an account at the kiosk or online at There, you will be able to access transaction history, make account updates or add funds online at any time. When shopping, you will be able to use your fingerprint, account card, QR code via the mobile app, or your username.

More about EPIC's Smart Market  

  • Offers snacks, drinks and meals, including more nutritious options
  • Starbucks premium coffee, ground and brewed fresh by the cup 
  • The 49er Account (which resides on the UNC Charlotte 49er ID card) will be available to use in the near future.
  • Video about the Smart Market concept here

Torres is pleased to say that EPIC's Smart Market is among the first of its type to be installed on a college campus. During the first few weeks of operation, it will be serviced daily and data will be gathered about what items are most popular and which items need replenishing less often. "If users have requests for specific items, I invite them to let me know," says Torres. "Smart Market is a new model that has potential to evolve and adapt to the community it serves in ways far superior to standard vending concepts." (Email

Photo of stakeholders at January 10, 2017 ribbon cutting for Smart Market

Ribbon cutting for Smart Market was held Tuesday, January 10. From left: Ana Alvarez, Auxiliary Services Director; Nick Taylor, Canteen Vending Services; Lee Anderson, Canteen; Keith Wassum, Business Services Associate Vice Chancellor; Drew Averitt, Business Services, Bev Guessford, EPIC; Robin Moose, EPIC; Rick Torres, Auxiliary Services.