Cary’s New Barnes & Noble’s Grand Opening Was Yesterday – Here Are Some First Impressions

Barnes & Noble held its grand opening yesterday, July 5th

Barnes & Noble held its grand opening yesterday, July 5th, at its new location in the Shoppes of Kildaire plaza (1311 Kildaire Farm Rd).

“We move just two miles, closing one grand old store to open a sparkling new one,” said James Daunt, CEO, Barnes & Noble. “The love this community has for books is no more evident than in the well-worn aisles of our former Cary Commons store. It is with great pleasure, then, that we remain in Cary — now in a fresh and completely redesigned bookstore.”

Previously located at 760 SE Maynard Rd, the old location was incredibly spacious and lively. A Starbucks was located in the center of the store, and plenty of tables and chairs were scattered throughout the establishment for people to relax with a good book (or bust out their laptops to get some work done). From the outside, the new location (previously a Fitness Connection) seems like a significant downsize, but all worries faded upon stepping into the building (it is 27,000 sq ft).

The layout of this Barnes & Noble might be a bit surprising to those used to the last store. The old building felt incredibly spacious, and most aisles were your standard rows (like what you would see in a grocery store). At this new location, sections all have their individual cute display, and it can feel like a (delightful) maze navigating the building.

Gone are the standard rows that you would expect, and in are these unique 90-degree displays. There are still rows located within the store, but they are much taller and feel different than the previous set-up. When browsing, it does not feel like you are in a 27,000 sq ft building but rather a quaint bookshop. The category is clearly labeled at the top of each display, and you’ll be greeted with many different sections around every corner you turn. There are also stand-alone tables that display special categories of books (such as recommended titles).

The cafe is still here (though it is on the side of the store instead of the center), and plenty of seating is available. That section of the store feels much more like a coffee shop than a bookstore, and it seems like it will be a popular destination to get some work done.

Throughout the store, there are cozy seating options available. While it isn’t quite as spaced out as the previous location, it doesn’t seem like many seating options are missing. There is definitely less, but it’s not as dramatic as you may initially expect.

Shoppes of Kildaire was already a popular shopping plaza, hosting Trader Joe’s, ALDI, Staples, and various restaurants. Adding Barnes & Noble into the mix will likely continue to keep business in the area healthy.

“We’re overjoyed to be reopening just 5 minutes down the road from our old location,” said Store Manager Jennifer Curtis, Barnes & Noble bookseller of 25 years. “We’re excited to be here in the Shoppes of Kildaire — a wonderful center full of great neighboring stores. We can’t wait to welcome the community into our stunning and expansive new bookstore.”

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