November 29, 2016
The first Barnes & Noble of the Future opens in Eastchester, NY
by Chad Felix
Between losing its new CEO, Ron Boire, after less than a year of employment (and subsequently paying him $4.8 million in severance) and posting a six-point loss for the first quarter of the year, Barnes & Noble, one of America’s last standing bookstore chains, has been having a rough time as of late. But thankfully, they’re not ready to call it quits just yet — not by a long shot.
Last week, Eastchester, New York saw the opening of a new kind of Barnes & Noble, the Barnes & Noble of the Future. The Barnes & Noble of the Future, Reader, is not one of those behemoths adorned in beige and forest green. Nor is it an Apple Store lookalike that sells only this thing called a Nook. Rather, the Barnes & Noble of the Future is something sleeker, smaller (in terms of bookselling space, at least), and more dynamic. It’s a bookstore, yes, but it’s also a restaurant. It has the latest James Patterson — and it also has a 3,000 square foot outdoor patio with bocce ball courts. A fire pit — and a classics line. Craft beers on tap — and books of Arts & Crafts on the shelf. It is, store manager Kathie Bannon told Shelf Awareness, “the best of the best… an edited version of what we have in our big Barnes & Noble stores” that “offers a more curated selection.”
Bannon, who used to manage the Borders that occupied the space prior to this new Barnes & Noble, adds,
Hearing and feeling what Borders meant to the community—a place they identified with and they came to share their love of reading—it was a big loss. Now that we’re able to bring that back again in a big way, in a very beautiful way, that’s the special thing to me.
No doubt it will be a special thing to the Eastchester community too, which has, since the closure of Borders in 2011, been without a sizeable general interest bookstore.
The Eastchester concept store is the first of five that Barnes & Noble has in the works. The other stores are expected to open soon (many before the end of the year) in Edina, Minnesota; Loudon, Virginia; Plano, Texas; and Folsom, California.
Chad Felix is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller.