Visitors to downtown New Brunswick, NJ cannot help but notice the giant red clock that adorns the new Gateway Transit Building at the corner of College Avenue and Somerset Street. The “Rutgers Clock” marks the new Barnes & Noble at Rutgers campus store, which kicked off its week-long grand opening celebration on September 6.
“As one of America’s oldest institutions of higher learning, Rutgers has a centuries-old tradition of rising to the challenges of each generation,” says Max J. Roberts, president and CEO, Barnes & Noble College. “We are proud to help Rutgers continue to fulfill this mission through this beautiful, dynamic new campus store that celebrates and connects the university’s unique heritage and Scarlet Knights pride with students, faculty and the entire city of New Brunswick.”
The three-story, 48,000 square-foot store is one of the largest Barnes & Noble campus stores in the country.
“This store is about 50 percent larger than the previous store that was located in the Ferren Mall,” says General Manager Len Oser. “This is the official Rutgers bookstore, but it’s also designed to meet the needs of the surrounding community by offering more than just textbooks.”
The expansive space features a large Scarlet Knights shop selling Rutgers emblematic merchandise; a technology store with NOOK® readers, tablets, laptops and accessories; a large children’s section with books and educational games; a “campus living room” for readings, book-signings, musical performances and local cultural events; and a Barnes & Noble Café serving Starbucks beverages and food items. The store is also wired with 15 wi-fi hotspots throughtout the store.
In addition to the physical store, Barnes & Noble at Rutgers also has its own website where students can place their orders online and pick up their purchases at the store or three other locations on campus.
To kick off the grand opening celebration, celebrity chef and host of the Food Network’s hit show Chopped, Ted Allen, made a special appearance to meet fans, pose for photos and sign copies of his new cookbook, In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks. The book signing was part of a week-long schedule of events to help celebrate the new store.
The popular chef and cookbook author attracted hundreds of fans who lined up hours before the event began. The line to see Allen snaked through the first floor of the Barnes & Noble store and, at one point, out the doors and onto the sidewalk.
Other grand opening events included an open house for Rutgers faculty and staff, a New Brunswick community open house as well as a student game night.
The store features a Rutgers Information Kiosk at the main entrance on Somerset Street to help visitors navigate the Rutgers campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway. A touch-screen makes it easy to find information, and visitors can download custom directions directly onto their mobile devices.
The store also has a New Jersey Transit DepartureVision screen that allows patrons to keep track of the train schedule at the New Brunswick station. The station is directly connected to the Gateway Village by a ramp that runs alongside the bookstore to Somerset Street, making it convenient for commuters to stop in and grab a quick cup of coffee, snack or magazine while checking their train schedule.
“We think it is an all-inclusive shopping experience,” says Oser. “Not only can you get a beverage and something great to eat, but we also have an incredible selection of textbooks in all different formats, general reading books, a Spirit clothing store that is commensurate with the size and stature of the University, and a tech store that has all the latest technology.”
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