This morning I, and my four month old, had the wonderful opportunity to preview the new Barnes & Noble store prototype located just outside the Mall in Columbia (Maryland). It’s no secret that Downtown Columbia is growing and intends to continue growing and developing, so as a current resident and parent I am often asking, how will this growth benefit us? In this instance, I am encouraged by the opportunities this new store presents.
How is this different from other Barnes & Noble stores?
This store prototype is the first of its kind to open in Maryland and only the sixth new concept store to open nationally. This new concept store is a modern take on a classic Barnes & Noble bookstore, featuring a more flexible design that encourages customers to discover new books through a 360-degree immersion and encourages customers to “curl up alone with a good book or gather with a small group of friends.” – B&N Press Release
This last piece, the fact that Barnes & Noble is inviting us to use their store as a meeting place, is what has me excited. Here are several ways I believe B&N could enrich our lives.
- Rain, rain go away, we’re off to Barnes & Noble to play
I’m envisioning a relaxing morning with my children where I order Starbucks for a mid-morning snack, then enjoy at one of the many sun-drenched tables while my kiddos people watch through the window or from the front patio. From there, we could wander through the many sections perusing the new releases, top sellers, cook books, and family games as we make our way back to the children’s section.
Though the children’s section is smaller than in the Ellicott City, MD, store, I find it to be more functional. It is organized by age, which means I can sit my little boy in front of the appropriate shelf rather than having him running throughout the entire section. I initially paused when I approached the children’s section and was first greeted by the toys and games; however, after further consideration, I believe this could be a blessing in disguise as it would distract my son, should he get any ideas about wondering away from the children’s area.
2. Events at Barnes & Noble
“Barnes & Noble Columbia is dedicated to supporting the community and hosting events of interest to customers, from bookfairs for local schools to booksignings and Storytimes.” – B&N Press Release
Presently, B&N plans to host a weekly Saturday storytime for the kiddos. This will be a fabulous opportunity for meeting up with other parents or simply getting the kiddos out of the house on a rainy or chilly Saturday. B&N hopes to offer additional story times throughout the week once they can better assess community needs.
3. Playdate anyone?
I love this option for meeting up with friends. As I mentioned, there is an on-site Café with a wide selection of Starbucks® coffees and teas, fresh baked goods, savory sandwiches, flat breads, quiches, soup of the day, and grab-and-go snacks. And in addition to the Café seating, the children’s area has a LEGO® table for the kiddos to sit and play together.
The mall location also offers additional opportunities as the carousel, play area, stores, and other amenities are only a short walk away.
4. A place for adults to relax
I have been searching for a more comfortable place to hold our monthly book club and I am excited to have found this option. There are a variety of seating options, including indoor and outdoor options, as well as food and a warm, inviting atmosphere. While Columbia has a variety of restaurants that we have previously utilized for these purposes, the congested and boisterous atmosphere of a restaurant at dinnertime is not always ideal.
In addition, B&N plans to host quarterly book club meetings in store, for book lovers who are looking for more opportunities to expand their reading.
The Barnes & Noble store prototype at The Mall in Columbia officially opens tomorrow, September 19, 2018. I am excited for this new development in our community and the opportunities it will bring. To learn more about this store, you can visit their Facebook Page @BNColumbia.