Brick-and-mortar retail outlets must often feel that news of their death has been greatly exaggerated.
Take Books-A-Million, which recently did a complete redesign of its store at the Shoppes at Eastchase in Montgomery. It’s been updated with new product lines, fresh layout and an all-new Café BAM, because hot beverages and reading are forever intertwined in civilized culture.
“That’s what people don’t get online, the smell of beverages, holding a warm cup of coffee in your hand and sitting in comfortable seating,” says Melanie Smith, senior director of BAM marketing. “We wanted to create a customer experience.”
And they had some fun doing it, she says. At the Montgomery store they’ll be bringing in pastries and sweets from Vintage Café to get local flavor in the coffee shop. They’ve added some softer product lines, such as apparel and cozy items like socks and sweatshirts.
“We want people to hang out in the bookstore,” Smith says.
In a nod to digital culture, there are recharging stations for phones, computers and tablets throughout the café. The new presentation is only available at a few BAM stores currently but will be rolled out to other stores one by one.
Birmingham-based Books-A-Million was founded in 1917 as a street corner newsstand in Florence and has grown to become the premier book retailing chain in the Southeastern United States, and the second largest book retailer in the nation. It operates more than 260 stores in 32 states and the District of Columbia.