New Ulster Barnes & Noble aims for similar selection despite smaller size

A store near Seattle with a similar layout to what’s planned for the new Barnes & Noble location. (Graeme Somerville)

Barnes & Noble’s new location in the Kings Mall will be about a 1/3 of the size of the store’s previous spot, but will have a comparable selection of books, according to the company.

After closing the store at 1177 Ulster Avenue in early April when the landlord opted not to renew its lease, about two months passed before the company announced it had found a new a location: The old Olive Garden across the street, which closed in February 2020.

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According to Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley, the Barnes & Noble team has already begun renovations.

“Since they desired to change the signage on the exterior of the building to make it different [from] the signage that was there in the Olive Garden space, they had to come to the Town of Ulster Planning Board to discuss,” said Quigley.

Quigley said the company underwent a quick approval process when it presented its layout to the Town of Ulster Planning Board.

The former Olive Garden across the street is the new location for the store.

The old Barnes & Noble building has 24,636-square-feet of space whereas the vacant Olive Garden takes up 7,656-square-feet. While this seems like a big change, it’s one the company has become accustomed to as it downsizes other locations across the country. Andy Garbutt, a Barnes & Noble executive in charge of principal, real estate and group development, said store visitors can expect brand new furniture and fixtures.

“Our new stores are lighter and brighter with titles curated into book rooms by genre,” said Garbutt.

The new design calls for a store that’s smaller in size with a clean, sophisticated look. Garbutt said the new Kingston location will still have a comparable selection of books despite downsizing. He said the store will have a café, but it will be significantly smaller and have a beverage-focused menu, serving Starbucks along with other drinks.

The location change shocked many and wasn’t planned, but Garbutt said it all worked out. “Our landlord opted to redevelop the space for a new tenant [Burlington Coat Factory], which prompted this move. However, we are excited to bring one of our new concept stores to Kingston and this store will look similar to other stores we have opened in the last 18 months,” said Garbutt.

Garbutt said there is no official opening date, but the company is aiming for early fall. “We are thrilled to return to Kingston in a few months with our new store,” he said. “We were touched by the outpouring of support when we closed our previous location and cannot wait to reopen for our Kingston customers.”

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