New Barnes & Noble set to open later this month

Monday, October 9, 2006
Work is still being done inside the new Barnes & Noble at West Park Mall. (Don Frazier)

More than 80 specially hired people are unloading boxes and stacking shelves with books, CDs and DVDs as the calendar pages flip toward Oct. 24, the day the new Barnes & Noble store at the West Park Mall will be unveiled to the public.

"People can come and ooh and aah the new store," said Jill LeGrand, community relations manager. "We really think people are going to like it."

The official grand opening is Oct. 25, but the store will open at 6 p.m. the day before to serve as a "preview night" with book signings, piano music and storytelling. Cape Girardeau lawyer and author David Limbaugh will sign copies of his new book.

The last day the existing store on William Street will be open is Oct. 24. That store will close an hour before the preview night begins.

But LeGrand said there are some changes from how other Barnes & Noble stores have done this in the past. For example, the books at the old store are being discounted, but they won't be sold for $1 as they have when other B&N stores have closed.

"All of our regular customers know every time we have a clearance sale, the books go down to a dollar. Not this go-round. We're stopping at 50 percent off," LeGrand said.

None of the books at the old store will be moved into the new store. Instead, thousands of books are being unloaded and put on shelves by 80 workers hired just to help set up the new store, LeGrand said. Any books that aren't sold at the old store will be sent back to the publisher, she said.

Some more details about the store's hours have also come to light. The new store manager will be Daniel Seiler, who has been with the company a number of years. A total of 40 employees will run the store, which is up from the old number of 30.

The 28,000-square-foot store will open at 9 a.m. and stay open until 11 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The Starbucks cafe will open at 8 a.m. each day.

As far as the existing Barnes & Noble building at 3035 William St., which is owned by Charles Drury, no tenants have been lined up, according to Michael Kohl, who handles leasing for Drury Land Development.

"We have several we're talking to," Kohl said from his office in St. Louis. "At this point, it's too early to guess when it would come together."

But the new Barnes & Noble will mean some other changes. The new store is a "Type A" B&N, while the existing one is a "Type C." LeGrand, who is from Cape Girardeau, said she was hired to fill a new position -- community relations manager.

LeGrand -- a former stay-at-home mom with a degree in anthropology -- said she will work to build a rapport between the community and the store. Schools will have access for fund-raising in-store book fairs, there will be literacy promotions and other projects in the hopper.

"We really want to build a camaraderie between the store and the community," she said. "We want to build relationships with any nonprofit group, every school educator, and we really want to promote learning and literacy."

The new store will be 10,000 square feet larger than the existing store. Music and DVDs have been added to the selections and the cafe is double the size of the old one. There will be seating inside and outside the bookstore, which will also have two entrances -- one from the mall interior and a separate entrance from outside the mall.

335-6611, extension 137

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