While the success of online retailers like Amazon continues to increase, traditional brick-and-mortar stores such as Barnes and Noble are struggling to stay afloat. The decrease in Nook and book sales has resulted in a declining financial trend for the largest bookstore chain in the country.
In an attempt to reverse the financial direction of the company, Barnes and Noble announced at the end of June it will open four new concept stores across the country with an expanded food menu that includes wine and beer. Customers at these new locations will be served in a café-style area where they can choose food and drinks from a full menu that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
While the first concept store opens in Eastchester, New York, this October, a location is projected to open in One Loudon in the spring of 2017. Other locations also include Edina, Minnesota, and Folsom, California.
By adding alcohol and an expanded menu at a handful of its stores, Barnes and Noble is doing something its online competitors can’t: creating a public place for reading and social gathering. The chain’s emphasis on establishing a social environment in the concept stores is evident in the additions made to the forthcoming New York location. The Eastchester store will boast an outdoor seating area with a fire pit and a bocce court.
By expanding the food and beverages menu, Barnes and Noble aims to create more revenue through sources other than books and to avoid the fate of other bookstore chains like Borders, which filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and liquidated its remaining stores.
The addition of another book store is a welcome site in Northern Virginia, especially after the closings of all of Borders’ stores, a Barnes and Noble in Reston in 2013 and a Books-A-Million in McLean earlier this year.
Whether implementing alcohol sales into Barnes and Noble’s fiscal strategy will combat online retailers poaching its customers is still unknown, but readers won’t be able to experience a unique concept like this while shopping in front of their computer screens.