Barnes and Noble at the Galleria in Edina
If you’ve been to the Galleria recently, you know it’s a bit of a mess down at the east end of the center, with the lower level near Len Druskin’s former store boarded up. We’ve heard rumblings about changes to Barnes & Noble, which anchors the east side of the mall with a two level space, but no one was talking—until today, when the Wall Street Journal posted a story saying the bookstore chain will open four concept stores featuring cafes that offer full service breakfast, lunch, and dinner service plus wine and beer. Galleria is one of the four locations where the concept will debut this year, according to WSJ.
The announcement came at an investor conference on Thursday. Barnes & Noble’s chief executive Ron Boire confirmed that his company has hired an executive chef. He gave few specifics, but said the food would be affordable—no $50 dinner entrees.
It's no secret that Barnes & Noble, like most bricks and mortar booksellers, has been suffering. Locally, it's been reported that the Calhoun Village location in Minneapolis will soon close. Total sales, including online, fell 2.2 percent in the quarter that ended April 30, WSJ reports. Weak store traffic was blamed as a contributing factor. Adding a restaurant—with spacious, contemporary design, from the renderings released—is intended to differentiate Barnes & Noble from Amazon.com., giving shoppers another reason to visit, and, ideally, stay longer.
WSJ reports that the first new concept store will open in October in Eastchester, N.Y. Galleria's new Barnes & Noble is expected to open before Christmas.
Galleria management didn’t have any details to add on Thursday—they knew Barnes & Noble was planning a new concept, but few specifics, until today. “We’re just thrilled to be one in four to get their new concept,” said Galleria Marketing Director Rachel Oelke.