Fairfield University Bookstore grand opening set for next weekend



Image: Fairfield BookstoreAn array of entertaining events as well as raffles, giveaways and discounts are planned for the grand opening weekend of the new Fairfield University Bookstore, Friday, November 4 through Sunday, November 6. In moving into the anchor store space left vacant by Borders Books & Music Store, the University will bring an enhanced and multi-faceted shopping experience to a prime downtown site.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the store, located at 1499 Post Road, on Friday, November 4, at 10:30 a.m., beginning a new era for the 23,500-square-foot retail location. Local officials and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, area businesses, and University partners and collaborators, including Follett Higher Education Group (FHEG) and Starbucks Coffee Company, will be in attendance.

Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., said the new bookstore provides the University with another opportunity to be of service to the greater community as well as to attract our own students downtown. "We anticipate the store to be a vibrant downtown place offering the University's rich, diverse programming," he said. "The bookstore will undoubtedly be filled with a lot of life: authors doing readings, students performing, the University community showing their artwork and faculty members lecturing on topical issues."

Image: Fairfield BookstoreThe store will feature bestsellers, general interest titles, a large children's section, Vera Bradley® products, gifts and an interactive computer department. With a strong hold on technology, this new store will feature audio, video, computer hardware, and the accessories needed to enhance those products. There will be computer and tablet demos where customers can try out the latest computers, tablets and e-readers. The store will carry HP® and Acer® computers, including its Iconia tablet along with the full Kindle® line of products. A headphone listening station will enable customers to test out SkullCandy® and Beats® headphones by simply plugging in their MP3 player or mobile device. Customers can also try out digital and video cameras at a camera station.

The new store will also feature emblematic apparel from the University and Fairfield Prep. (Coming soon will be apparel from Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde high schools.) A community gathering area on the 2nd floor will offer a variety of programs and activities.

"There will be a great emphasis on cutting-edge computer technology, items that five years ago you wouldn't necessarily find in a bookstore," said James Fitzpatrick, assistant vice president of Administration and Student Affairs. "At the same time, it will be a welcoming destination for patrons to not only purchase the latest books but have a cup of coffee and enjoy enlightening events."

The store's café will double as a gathering spot, offering coffee drinks, tea, soups, salads and deli items. Early in 2012, Starbucks will move into the spot, which has a projected capacity of about 50 seats and anticipated outdoor seating when the weather permits. In the meantime, Sodexo, the University's dining services operator, will manage the café.

In July, officials announced that the new bookstore would open in the former Borders site, one complete with the advantages and resources consumers expect from a premier retail bookstore. Civic leaders and area merchants praised the project, observing it will increase foot traffic in an important retail neighborhood. A shuttle bus will run every 30 minutes from campus to the bookstore, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Image: Fairfield Bookstore"Aside from the Fairfield University presence, the store becomes an anchor for the center of town," said Fitzpatrick. "It also enables us to bring the intellectual life of our university more fully into the heart of the community. This is something we've long wanted to do."

The site has always been a vital location in the retail community. It was occupied by The Fairfield Store, a family-owned department store that opened in 1921 and remained at the site until 1996. The university is leasing the space from Kleban Holding Company, LLC. The university's partner in the initiative is Follett Higher Education Group, which now manages more than 930 college and university bookstores across North America. There's precedence for FHEG operating an off-campus bookstore. It does so with the Hammes Bookstore and Café on Eddy Street in South Bend, Indiana, just off the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

Fairfield University students will be able to purchase textbooks for courses and other study supplies at the Post Road site, although Follett will maintain a small campus presence with the new 'Stag Spirit Shop.' It will primarily be a convenience store for the campus community, although it will sell University sweatshirts, tee shirts, mugs and other emblematic items.

The Fairfield University Bookstore hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. For more information on the bookstore and its grand opening weekend programming, visit www.fairfield.bkstr.com.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 27, 2011

Vol. 44, No. 101