Barnes & Noble brings new concept bookstore to Folsom

Barnes & Noble brings new concept bookstore to Folsom

By Roberta Long

Barnes & Noble opened its third new concept bookstore in the nation in Folsom’s Palladio Shopping Center in Folsom on December 13, 2016.

Barnes & Noble opened its third new concept bookstore in the nation in Folsom’s Palladio Shopping Center in Folsom on December 13, 2016. When construction of Palladio started in 2008, Barnes & Noble was identified as one of three anchors, along with Palladio 16 Cinemas and Whole Foods Market. After nearly nine years, it is worth the wait.

The store is beautiful.

Located in the center of Palladio on Via Felice, the interior carries an Italian approach to design that reflects the Italian architecture of the shopping center. The store was designed by Miguel Sal & C, of Bologna, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain. The firm is renowned for giving brands a new personality, and is recognized for designing some of the best bookstores in the world.

Inside the Folsom store, light and dark woods are used to create ceiling screens, light fixtures, floor patterns and furniture. Fabric upholstery on chairs and benches adds colorful accents. Floor-to-ceiling windows blend the interior with the street scene.
Outside seating around a fountain adds to the enjoyment of outdoor events. “It’s the right concept in the right community,” says District Manager Darlene Ingram.

It is spacious.

The expansive floor plan and high ceilings create an airy environment for comfortably perusing the thousands of books and other items on display. Tables and chairs are included in different subject sections for customers’ convenience. A large Kids’ place with colorful small tables and chairs introduces children to the fun of storytelling. Teens, too, have their own special space and titles.

That’s not all. The Barnes and Noble store also has vinyl records and turntables, with music genre books nearby. It has various versions of its e-reader, the Nook. It has a paper shop, gifts, toys, games, a newsstand and a wide selection of magazines. A multi-space area offers different types of seating to enjoy food and drink.

It is inviting.

“We want to make a fun environment, where people will want to come and stay, and come back,” says Ingram.
The store has free Wi-Fi. Customers are invited to relax and take a break from busy schedules. Well-trained staff will offer any assistance requested.
Reading, shopping and eating go together naturally. The store is open from 9 a.m. to late in the evening.

All of the food and drink served by The Kitchen is overseen by Chef Sheamus Feeley. He was raised on a farm in the Ozarks in a restaurant family, and says he is right at home with the Sacramento region’s Farm-to-Fork identity. He also grew up listening to Johnny Cash, and is still a fan.

Feeley’s approach is to make simple dishes with the best possible ingredients and apply the cook’s skills. “This style doesn’t highlight the cook,” he says. “It tells the story of the farmer or rancher.” Meals are served in the restaurant or in the comfortable living room area, where newspapers are available and children can entertain themselves with complimentary Etch-A-Sketches while they wait. A coffee, wine and beer bar offers locally sourced drinks and bites.

It is part of the community.

An important piece of Barnes & Noble’s culture is the belief that a great bookstore is also a reflection of the community. “Our employees, who are all called booksellers, and all are readers, come from the community and link us to it,” says Ingram.

The store has a schedule of events, inside and outside, throughout the year to raise funds for local schools and literary and cultural organizations, from children’s storytime to the high school marching band.

It is still a bookstore.

With all the wonderful extras, with retail stores connected to Internet and digital commerce, Barnes and Noble remains a bookseller. In response to the notion that print books are going the way of the dinosaurs, Ingram quotes Doug Adams, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” who told an audience, “Books are sharks. There were sharks before there were dinosaurs, and the reason sharks are still in the ocean is that nothing is better at being a shark than a shark.… Books are really good at being books and no matter what happens books will survive.”

Ingram says, “Readers are readers, and we are here to serve them.”

Feature photo by David Gatti. Gallery photos by Roberta Long and David Gatti.