One of the nation’s largest book stores is turning a page on its East Brainerd presence with its move to Hamilton Place mall.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers will officially open its new store Wednesday morning at the mall’s food court entrance. The store at The Terrace shopping center near the Krystal restaurant will permanently close tonight after business hours, said Elizabeth Murphy, local community relations manager.
Also tonight, Barnes & Noble is holding a preview celebration at the new store, Mrs. Murphy said. The event features pupils from Barger Academy of Fine Arts and Apison, Fairyland and Thrasher elementary schools, who will perform skits and reader’s theater. The event, from 6-9 p.m., is free and open to the public.
The new book store, located in the former Regal Cinemas site, for the first time will feature a music and movie section, Mrs. Murphy said. Customers can browse through DVDs, compact discs and books on tape, she said. A kiosk plays selections from movies and music that are in stock.
Staff Photo by Tim Barber Painters Doug Thompson, left, and Len Steele line the entrance area to the new location of Barnes and Noble inside the Hamilton Place Mall where the former cinemas were located.
“Barnes & Noble is a tremendous addition to Hamilton Place mall,” said Katie Reinsmidt, director of corporate communications and investor relations for CBL & Associates Properties Inc., the mall’s owner. “The new, larger store will not only provide visitors with an expanded selection of merchandise ... but also creates an opportunity to introduce DSW Shoes and Ulta Cosmetics to the Chattanooga shopper at The Terrace.”
Work to convert the old store to DSW and Ulta will start in December, she said, and the stores are set to open next summer.
Barnes & Noble’s 30,000-square-foot new store is 5,000 square feet larger than the old store, Mrs. Murphy said, most of which is occupied by the electronic media department. The new store also features a larger cafe, which like the one at the old store serves Starbucks coffee and serves pastries and sandwiches, she said.
The new store also features, for the first time, Vera Bradley bags and reading glasses, Mrs. Murphy said, in a larger gift area. A mural depicting Chattanooga history adorns the wall by the periodical section. The store also has a large section devoted to local books about Chattanooga, she said.
Mrs. Murphy thinks customers will find it easier to get into the new store since the mall’s owners modified the parking lot to ease traffic flow.
The new store has nearly 200,000 titles of books and electronic media, Mrs. Murphy said. All the books and merchandise in the old store are being returned to the printers, she said, and were not moved to the new store because of the logistics of opening the new store while closing the old store simultaneously.