November 1, 2012

The Cornell Store Gets a Redesign

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Correction appended

When renovations at the Cornell Store are complete in the spring, customers will be able to test out the latest technologies, publish a book of their original poetry in minutes and chat with friends over a warm cup of coffee.

The Cornell Store will be undergoing renovations from Nov. 12 until early spring. The store will remain open, but certain sections will be roped off to complete the three-phase plan, according to Cornell Store officials.

The remodeling aims to improve the store’s organization, provide additional in-store seating, open a full service café and improve the upper-level accessible entrance, according to Pat Wynn, director of the Cornell Store.

The technology corner, which is currently on the top floor, will move downstairs to where the store’s 1865 Café and Market now exists.

The demand for technology products has expanded to a point where the current space for these products is no longer sufficient, according to Margie Whiteleather, strategic projects manager for the store. After the remodeling, there will be enough space both for customers to demo cutting-edge devices and for employees to offer more tech-related services, she said.

The store will also open a water bottle refill station and full-service café, which will sell coffee, beverages and food.

“We’re learning that we’re open hours that some of the dining halls are not open, especially during key weekends that visitors are on campus,” Whiteleather said.The Cornell Store will announce its café partner in mid-December. Potential candidates include Cornell Dining and several off-campus businesses, according to Wynn.Adjacent to the café will be a skylight area that will showcase “all authors and all things Cornell,” Wynn said.The main attractions in the skylight area will be a Cornell author tower, which will feature books written by authors who attended Cornell and an Espresso Book Machine — a print-on-demand machine that can print, assemble, cover and bind a book in just minutes.Using the machine, any member of the Cornell or Ithaca communities will be able to see their original writing in print and receive an ISBN number for a low price. The EBM will also give customers access to a virtual library of about 10 million books — even ones that are out of print.According to Wynn, after the renovations, all textbooks, supplies and technology products will be available on the bottom floor, while all apparel and insignia gifts will be on the top floor.Wynn said that the reorganizing products in the store will lessen the disruption when students purchase class materials in the beginning of each semester. In the past, employees have had to completely reconfigure the sales floor to make room for about 250 book carts, she said.The store is undergoing renovations, Wynn said, because it is, in some places “really falling apart.” She added that when employees recently arrived at work, they found heaps of clothing on the floor because one of the store’s supportive flat walls had cracked.The flooring, rugs, public bathrooms and skylight will also receive a facelift.Overall, each improvement is designed to give the Cornell Store a more “timeless, elegant, modern and Ivy League look,” Wynn said. “It’s really vital to the University’s identity that the store maintains a world-class collegiate retail environment,” she said. “We have a lot of people coming here who are potential faculty, prospective students and parents. Also, with the sesquicentennial just a few years away, we really need to look sharp because we will have visitors from all over the world.”While all of these changes are intensive undertakings, the Cornell Store is working to minimize any potential disruptions to business.According to Whiteleather, the renovations will be well underway by the last week of the fall semester, coinciding with the time of its annual sale. As a result, Christmas will come early for customers. To show its appreciation for customers’ patience during the construction, the Cornell Store will host an extended customer appreciation sale from Nov. 5-9, during which time most merchandise will be discounted by 25 percent.Construction at the store will pause at the beginning of the spring semester, from Jan. 2 to Feb. 1, so students can shop for textbooks and course materials without interference, according to a section on the Cornell Store’s website that provides updates on the status of the remodel.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the upper level entrance to the Cornell Store will not be accessible from Oct. 29 to Nov. 26. In fact, the only entrance that will be closed is the one adjacent to the store’s loading dock. The main upper level entrance will remain open.

Original Author: Alexa Davis