U-Store re-opens this fall with new look, commitment to service
This summer, all 40,000 square feet of the store were stripped down to the bare walls and remodeled at a cost of $2 million.
"More than just new fixtures, flooring, paint and lighting, this renovation marks a dramatic reconfiguration of the store, symbolic of our renewed commitment to serving the retail needs of the campus community," said James Sykes, store president.
Departments have been moved, merchandise has been changed and services have been added -- all in response to input from U-Store trustees, he said. Store personnel talked with undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff as well as alumni employed in retailing to develop the plans.
"We wanted to focus more on the University, especially students," Sykes said. "We also wanted to make it more convenient to shop here."
A redesigned entrance from University Place leads either up to apparel and insignia merchandise or down to the campus level.
"Anybody who hasn't been in the store since May will be astonished when they come in this fall," said Virginia France, marketing director.
The campus level, also accessible from an entrance off Lockhart Court, will feature a new convenience store that is open until 2 a.m. seven days a week during the school year. The "U-2" offers everything from hot coffee to 24-hour photo processing. Olives, the upscale deli on Witherspoon Street, will be stocking a refrigerated case of salads, sandwiches and soups.
Also on the campus level is a copy shop, which will be open extended hours during peak times, and a pharmacy. In addition, the campus level includes computers, CDs and a "dorm living" department with casual, inexpensive furnishings and accessories.
"We're now carrying electronics like small TVs that fit in dorm rooms, VCRs and Palm Pilots, all at competitive prices," Sykes said.
The second level of the store is the home of Princeton insignia merchandise. Additional women's apparel is located on the upper mezzanine and men's apparel is on the lower mezzanine.
The store is now stocking more contemporary brands than it has in the past, including Nike and Esprit.
The real showpiece of the renovation is the top floor, which is devoted entirely to textbooks and trade books. The books are displayed on new wooden shelving. Shoppers who want to peruse the merchandise can choose from several comfortable chairs or a dozen window seats overlooking Lockhart Court.
Plans call for readings, lectures, book signings and community events to be staged in this area.
The basement of the store now contains offices and non-selling functions, such as stocking, receiving and pricing.
A grand re-opening for the store is scheduled for Oct. 18-24. According to France, it will feature sales, door prizes, musical performances and readings.
Hours for the main store are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Free parking is available across the street.
The U-Store, which has been in business since 1905, is a cooperative governed by a board of directors that includes eight students, two faculty, one staff member and four alumni. Membership and other information can be obtained by contacting the store at 921-8500 or <http://www.pustore.com>.