Relocating & Redesigning to Enhance the Retail Experience
Le Moyne Transforms College Bookstore Into Campus Destination
Located on a picturesque, 160-acre campus in Syracuse, N.Y., Le Moyne College is a four-year private university with approximately 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Situated in the center of the campus, Le Moyne’s bookstore was being operated by another provider before Barnes & Noble College took it over in June 2010. While the store’s central location at the time was ideal, the space itself was not. Small and poorly laid out, customers found it difficult to shop and students rarely spent more time than necessary around the store.
Le Moyne decided that the best option was to relocate the bookstore to an older but larger, empty building just on the edge of campus, where there would be room for the improvements required to better meet students’ needs. When Le Moyne decided to bring in an expert, Barnes & Noble rose to the challenge.
Le Moyne brought Barnes & Noble in to look at the current store and possible new location – an empty plaza. After visiting both locations and understanding the issues, Barnes & Noble realized that the new location was like a blank canvas full of opportunities for the campus. Together, Barnes & Noble and Le Moyne quickly got to work designing and building a store based on the retailer’s extensive knowledge and research on what students want from their bookstore.
“Barnes & Noble’s mission on a college campus begins when the physical space is shaped and handed over to us, and we take that mission very seriously,” said Robert Lucero, an architect in Barnes & Noble’s department of design and construction. “It always creates an interesting dynamic when you bring together two different design teams with potentially divergent goals, but everyone went above and beyond to make sure this project went smoothly.”
With that positive collaboration, the end result was nothing short of magnificent. After months of development and working on a tight, start-of-semester deadline, the new campus bookstore was opened as part of the new Le Moyne Student Plaza. And Barnes & Noble’s retail expertise was evident.
“What we create is a great academic retail experience,” said Lucero. “We pay attention to the details – what greets a customer when they come in, what grabs their attention – and then we organize the store so that anyone walking across the threshold has an immediate sense of the bookstore’s offerings.”
In addition to the much bigger, better designed bookstore with enhanced products and services, Le Moyne also brought in outside coffee and food vendors. With these new amenities on top of comfortable seating areas and a grand fireplace, the students truly had the “campus living room” they had been missing.
With the help of Barnes & Noble’s deep understanding of students and university trends, Le Moyne’s bookstore is thriving. More than just a place that students visit at the beginning and end of each semester, it is now a true year-round retail environment that acts as a gathering place for students, as well as residents of the community at large. Thanks to the bookstore’s residential location and ample parking spaces, members of the surrounding community enjoy spending time at the student plaza as well.
“Barnes & Noble embraced our vision for the bookstore and truly understood how it could contribute to the vibrancy of the campus and our neighborhood,” said Roger Stackpoole, vice president of finance & administration and treasurer of Le Moyne College. “We wanted a partner that would be innovative, enthusiastic and responsive to the needs and ideas of our staff and students – and Barnes & Noble exceeded our expectations on all of these fronts.”
Barnes & Noble’s focus on its partner’s needs truly enabled Le Moyne community to recognize the new bookstore as a campus destination – not only for students and residents, but for visitors as well.
“Barnes & Noble views itself as being an intricate component to the recruitment and retention of students on campus,” said Paula Eardley, vice president of campus relations at Barnes & Noble College. “Visitors and potential students see the bookstore and new plaza as the ‘face’ of the Le Moyne campus, while current students finally feel that they have a bookstore that will provide all the materials they need, now and in the future.”