Barnes & Noble's first concept store, originally slated to open in October in Eastchester, N.Y., opened on Tuesday morning, with the offical grand opening set for December 2.
The 22,000-square-foot store is located in Eastchester's Vernon Hills Shopping Center at a former Borders location. It is the first in a group of prototypes being tested by the company, and combines a traditional bookstore environment with a full restaurant, called the "Barnes & Noble Kitchen," as well as new customer service technology.
The 2,600-square-foot Kitchen was created in partnership with AvroKO and The Branstetter Group, and is adjacent to a 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio replete with bocce court and firepit. The Kitchen will sell wine from New York's Finger Lakes region, craft beer from New York State breweries. Its menu includes breakfast, entrée, and dessert items such as lemon-ricotta pancakes, plancha-cooked salmon, and butterscotch pot de crème.
The new store also serves as both showcase and laboratory for new technology that B&N hopes will enhance customer's experiences. Booksellers equipped with "mobile engagement devices" will roam the floors, and will be able both to quickly look up details on products and check out customers without a visit to the cash register. Customers will also be able to text questions and comments to store staff.
Events planned for the grand opening weekend feature a number of children's events, including a reading by Biscuit series author Alyssa Capucilli, and musical performances by such artists as Alexis Cole and Milton.