Book the date: Friday, Nov. 4.
That’s when a large void in the center of downtown Fairfield will be filled as Fairfield University opens its new, off-campus bookstore in the spot once occupied by Borders Books and Cafe. The property is considered one of the retail anchors of the town’s central business district.
The university promises “raffles, giveaways and discounts” during the grand-opening weekend of the store at 1499 Post Road.
A ribbon-cutting is planned at 10:30 a.m. Friday to mark the official opening of the 23,500-square-foot store. Town officials, representatives from area businesses, and Fairfield U. partners in the project, including Follett Higher Education Group and Starbucks Coffee, will attend.
In a statement on the new store, Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., said, “We anticipate the store to be a vibrant downtown place offering the university’s rich, diverse programming.
“The bookstore will undoubtedly be filled with a lot of life: authors doing readings, students performing, the university community showing their artwork and faculty members lecturing on topical issues,” he added.
In addition to university texts, the store will feature bestsellers, general interest titles, a children’s section, Vera Bradley products, gifts and an interactive computer department. The store also will feature audio, video, computer hardware and the accessories needed to enhance those products.
There will be computer and tablet demos where customers can try out computers, tablets and e-readers. The store will carry HP and Acer computers, including its Iconia tablet along with the full Kindle line of products. A headphone listening station will enable customers to test out SkullCandy and Beats headphones by plugging in MP3 players or mobile devices. Customers can also try out digital and video cameras at a camera station.
The new store will also feature logo apparel from Fairfield U. and Fairfield Prep, and soon will offer apparel from Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde high schools.
A community gathering area on the second floor will offer a variety of programs and activities.
The store’s café, in addition to coffee, will offer tea, soups, salads and deli foods. Early next year, Starbucks will move into the spot, which has a projected capacity of about 50 seats and anticipated outdoor seating when the weather permits. In the meantime, Sodexo, the university’s dining services operator, will manage the café.
A shuttle bus will run every 30 minutes from campus to the bookstore, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.