Toward Opening the New University of Pennsylvania Bookstore
As part of the development of Sansom Common, the new University Bookstore is scheduled to commence operations in mid-July. The new store will anchor the first phase of the complex which will also include other retail stores and the Inn at Penn.
In July, 1996, the University reached agreement with Barnes & Noble to operate the Penn Bookstore for a fifteen-year period. As part of the management agreement, Barnes & Noble agreed to make a significant contribution to the construction of the new Penn Bookstore that would combine the best elements of a great academic bookstore with the amenities of a Barnes & Noble superstore. This new 50,000 square-foot store, which will be about 60% larger than the current store, will have a significant increase in both academic and tradebook titles. (The new store will have approximately 130,000 titles.) It is projected that its approximately 90,000 academic titles will make it one of the most comprehensive academic bookstores in the country. It will also feature a significantly expanded faculty authors section as well as a large "world news" section. The new store, situated in the heart of Sansom Common, will be a tremendous strategic advantage for Penn.
The main rotunda of the store will feature the 1998 Ivy Stone (see page 1). Other features of the new store include: a 100-seat Cafe serving Starbucks coffee; a comprehensive music department with listening boards; poster and print department; an expanded assortment of emblematic clothing and gifts, school supplies and specialty items; and a full-time community outreach director who will coordinate regular in-store author appearances and other special events. Plans to feature faculty and alumni authors, poetry readings, children's story-telling and community events are all under development. Opportunities to work collaboratively with the University Museum, Institute for Contemporary Art, Morris Arboretum and the Penn Press are also being explored.
In its new location, the Penn Bookstore will continue to be staffed by the same core of formerly Penn employees who transferred to Barnes & Noble in the summer of 1996. Working with new staff to be hired for the larger facility, they will continue to be an integral part of the Penn community as they serve the needs of our students, faculty and staff. Regular customer service surveys will continue to be conducted and will be the basis for reviewing the services delivered at the new store. Finally, to ensure that the new Bookstore as well as the B&N management team, are meeting the needs of the University community, Business Services will continue to work closely with the University Council Bookstore Committee, chaired by Professor Regan. In anticipation of the expanded scope of operations, Barnes & Noble has appointed Dwayne Carter as the new General Manager for the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore. Mr. Carter comes to Penn with over 20 years of retail management experience including serving as B&N Regional Manager in Connecticut and Massachusetts with responsibility for 12 campus stores. For the past three years, he has been the Director of the Boston University Bookstore and Chairman of the Large Store Group at Barnes & Noble. His experience will provide additional support to Mike Knezic who will continue in his role as Director of Store Operations. The entire Bookstore team is focused on the successful opening of the new faciltity. Grand opening events will be announced in the near future.
There will be a three-to-four week period during which the Bookstore will be transferring many of its trade books to the new store. Every effort will be made to retain key book sections and to retrieve transferred items surrounding retail openings in July and August, construction on the Inn at Penn and the remainder of Sansom Common will continue. For approximately 12 months after the Bookstore opens, deliveries will be made to the store via the Sansom Street entrance. Once the Inn is completed, a new truck dock will open to accomodate the entire Sansom Common development. We will do eveything possible to minimize incovenience to our customers, and we ask for your patience as we work to complete the entire project.
We welcome your comments and suggestions as we move toward opening of the new Bookstore. Please forward them to witt@pobox.
The Computer Connection will also move to the new facility in July 1998. It remains a department of the University and is not managed under the Barnes & Noble agreement, although it will be co-located with the Bookstore at Sansom Common. The Computer Connection will carry its traditional assortment of hardware product lines, including Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard; as well as an expanded selection of peripherals, accessories, and software titles. Departmental orders and delivery services will continue to be managed by the Computer Connection and computer repair services will continue to be provided by The Computer Fixer through an agreement with the Computer Connection. A separate location near Sansom Common will be provided for the repair service. For more information on the Computer Connection, visit our web page at www.business-services.upenn.edu/computerstore/.
-- Marie Witt, Interim Vice President for Business Services
Almanac, Vol. 44, No. 32, May 5, 1998