Remember how I reported that B&N Education was pivoting away from college bookstores in favor of running gift shops?
It looks like I overstated the case. The WSJ is reporting that B&N Edu is going to open what would best be described as a flagship store at Rutgers University, near B&N Edu’s headquarters in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
Barnes & Noble Education Inc. and Rutgers University-Newark will open a 10,000-square-foot bookstore catering to the general public and Rutgers students as part of the mixed-use redevelopment of the historic Hahne & Co. department store site.
The bookstore will join the project’s other marquee tenants, which include Whole Foods Market and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who is planning a new restaurant at the location. The store is expected to open in February.
Barnes & Noble Education, which spun off from the consumer retail bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. more than a year ago, is planning events such as author signings, open-mic poetry nights and Saturday story hours for children as part of its community offerings, the company said.
“It would be a gathering place for the community,” said Patrick Maloney, president of Barnes & Noble College, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Education. “Hopefully, they would get a cup of Starbucks, come across the street and spend a few hours with us.”
B&N Edu’s stores typically run anywhere from 3,000 to 8,000 square feet, so the new store will be considerably larger than average and it is going to do a lot more than just be a college bookstore.
B&N Edu might not call it so, but this is arguably their flagship store.
On the other hand, it’s still going to be far smaller than a typical big box bookstore, which usually run anywhere from 24,000 to 40,000 square feet.
The new store will open in February; if you are in the are then why not visit and let us know what you think.