April 22, 1996
Phyllis Holtzman (215) 898-8721 at Penn
Janine von Juergensonn (212) 539-2227, Vice President Barnes & Noble College Bookstores
The Barnes & Noble store will become the University's official bookstore, replacing the current facility at 38th and Locust Walk. It will carry some 130,000 book titles; up to 2,000 periodicals, magazines, foreign publications and newspapers; an academic technology and multimedia center; a comprehensive music department with listening boards; a cafe; and comfortable seating areas. The store, which will open in September 1998, will combine the depth of an academic bookstore with the broad range of titles from a commercial seller. Groundbreaking will begin in the fall.
"I am so pleased to make this announcement," said Rodin. "The addition of the Barnes & Noble superstore to our community will dramatically enhance the quality of life on campus. The partnership between one of the best booksellers in the country and one of the nation's leading Ivy League universities will enrich our students, our community and the City of Philadelphia. It is sure to become a model for all university bookstores."
"As we move forward to implement our Agenda for Excellence, we are deeply aware that enhancing the quality of life for our students is an integral part of our mission," Rodin added. "We all gain from having an exciting new bookstore with countless opportunities for an enriched intellectual and cultural life outside the classroom."
The Penn/Barnes & Noble partnership is a component of the University's strategic plan. The new store will be open late, offer a broad range of services (see list below), and should serve as an anchor to attract other retail businesses and visitors to the West Philadelphia community.
"The partnership combines the best aspects of Penn's great academic bookstore with the breadth and appeal of a Barnes & Noble superstore," said Steve Murray, Penn's Vice President for Business Services. "It is truly a win-win situation for Penn, Barnes & Noble and the University community."
Barnes & Noble, the nation's oldest and largest retail bookseller, currently operates more than 300 campus bookstores, and approximately 370 superstores across the country. The Barnes & Noble superstores are modeled after the company's "Main Store" in New York City, the world's largest bookstore. Superstores are large bookstores that offer at least 100,000 titles, music selections, a cafe and other amenities. This is the first time Barnes & Noble has designed, created and built a university superstore.
"We spoke with several companies but selected Barnes & Noble because they are a first rate company and considered the best in the business," said Penn's Executive Vice President John Fry. "Only Barnes & Noble has the credibility, capability and experience to create something of this magnitude."
The new Penn bookstore will offer all of the services provided by the current bookstore. In addition, the new store will carry double the number of titles, a large and relevant tradebook selection, all University of Pennsylvania textbooks and educational supplies, an expanded assortment of emblematic clothing and gifts, dorm supplies, class rings, a large poster and print department, and art and engineering supplies. The new store will also offer a greatly enhanced discounting policy, including 20 percent off all hardcovers, 30 percent off New York Times hardcover bestsellers, and up to 90 percent off on bargain books.
As part of the partnership with Penn, Barnes & Noble College Bookstores will take over management of the University's current bookstore on July 1. The store, at 38th and Locust Walk, will remain in operation until the new store opens.
In staffing the new superstore, Barnes & Noble College Bookstores has agreed to give first consideration to all current University bookstore employees, Fry said.
"The partnership with Barnes & Noble College Bookstores will enable us to focus our resources on our academic mission, and let the business professionals do what they do best," said Fry. "Part of our mission in restructuring the University is to seek the most professional management possible for various administrative and business services. That way, we can increase the University's efficiency and cost effectiveness."
"At the same time, we highly value our employees, and we were only willing to enter a partnership with a company whose records met our own high standards for employee relations," added Fry, "a company like Barnes & Noble."
Under the terms of the partnership, Barnes & Noble College Bookstores will pay approximately half of the estimated $8 million construction costs, Fry said. The University will own the building; the new store is guaranteed to produce at least an additional $1 million annually in revenue to the University.
The agreement with Barnes & Noble College Bookstores is an innovative way to generate additional revenue, Fry said. It is an example of a strategic investment that will yield long-term benefits to the University.
"This is fantastic for Penn students," said Lance Rogers, chairman of Penn's Undergraduate Assembly (the student government). "We will have a first-class bookstore with all the extras, and a late-night gathering place for socializing."
Barnes & Noble College Bookstores will hire a full-time community relations coordinator to work in conjunction with Penn's Office of Community Relations. The coordinator will create a calendar of events to interest the community, including children's story hours, book discussions and poetry readings.
"This is a truly extraordinary venture, " said J. Alan Kahn, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble College Bookstores. "We never before have had the opportunity to build, from the ground up, our concept of the ultimate bookstore. We look forward to working with Penn to develop the country's finest academic bookstore."
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