Ever wanted to curl up with the latest Stephen King novel and a glass of wine—outside the comfort of your home? Soon, you’ll be able to, thanks to Barnes & Noble. During an investor conference held last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the bookseller announced it would debut a new in-store restaurant concept in the next year. The four U.S. locations include the Galleria shopping center in Edina, where the bookseller is a longstanding tenant. It will relocate to the spaces formerly occupied by Len Druskin, California Closets, and Bang & Olufsen, and expected to open before Christmas. The new locations are said to be twice the size of a typical Barnes & Noble cafe, and will include wait staff, full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, and beer and wine offerings.
It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar booksellers have been on the decline in recent years, thanks to the continued dominance of online juggernaut Amazon and the rise in digital publishing. Barnes & Nobel’s closest competitor, Borders, went out of business in 2011. The new concept is clearly a move to compete with online shopping by enticing shoppers into the store—and keep them there longer. In addition to the expanded food and drink offerings, the new concept will also include more seating throughout the store, hands-on play sessions in its toy and game department, and mini shops featuring art supplies for painting, cartooning, and illustration. Barnes & Noble isn’t alone in its quest to improve the in-store shopping experience—when it reopened its flagship location in North Loop recently, local baby and kid store Pacifier incorporated a play area, plenty of seating, a kitchen with snacks and coffee, kid’s yoga, and parenting classes to become a resource and community for parents.
It’s the latest in a recent wave of changes at Galleria—earlier this year saw the departure of longtime tenant Len Druskin as well as a number of other Minnesota retailers, including Epitome, Epitome Papers (which recently reopened in Excelsior), and Russell+Hazel (which is slated to reopen in North Loop in August). On the flip side, national retailers Tory Burch, Free People, and Vineyard Vines are coming to the Edina shopping center this fall, and locally owned women’s clothing store Dugo recently completed a renovation.
Rendering of the dining area at a New York Barnes & Noble, which will be similar to the one opening in the Galleria.