Northwestern campus store undergoes renovation, improves organization for employees


Kimberly Espinosa/Daily Senior Staffer

The Northwestern campus store. The store underwent renovations in February.

Lindsey Byman, Reporter

The Northwestern campus store located in the Norris University Center underwent renovations in February to modernize its appearance, according to Norris Bookstore General Manager Steve Hannen.

A 2018 contract between NU and Barnes and Noble College, the University’s campus store partner, allocated money toward renovations, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed them. In Spring Quarter 2022, the Barnes and Noble College team created the store’s new look with designer Joodie Symington.

Renovations started in February and concluded later that month. According to Hannen, the campus store had not been renovated since 2012.

“This is the campus store that Northwestern deserves,” Hannen said.

He described the old store as “stale” and said the renovations brought it to the “21st century.” The renovations were made in stages so the store could continue selling apparel, decorations, school supplies, electronics and other products throughout the month-long process.

Hannen said the team’s focus centered on updating the entrance.

The former double glass doors became a wide, LED-rimmed entryway. A purple athletic “N” logo greets shoppers beside the entrance. The floor, previously made of four different materials, is now a sleek two-toned gray with “drive aisles.” Hannen said it’s intended to direct shoppers toward hoodies, hats, T-shirts and more school merchandise in LED-illuminated “shadow boxes,” which display selected items.

Communication junior and campus store employee Chidera Olewuenyi said she noticed changes every time she came in for a shift in February.

“When you walk in, the environment is a bit more welcoming and a bit more spirited,” she said.

The changes make the store more clearly NU-branded, Olewuenyi said, with additions of new bright lights and more purple. 

Weinberg freshman and campus store frequenter Evan Kim said the changes make the store feel spacious and modern. The new shelves make merchandise look more appealing, he added.

“I definitely like it a lot more,” Kim said. “It makes me want to buy more stuff.”

Olewuenyi said most customers first notice the “flashy” changes, like the mural behind the check-out counter, which shows a birds-eye view of NU’s campus in multiple shades of purple. 

Olewuenyi’s favorite addition is the large, glimmering academic “N” logo visible when shoppers descend the stairs to the academic supplies on the lower floor. The decoration is the first of its kind in any Barnes and Noble College designs, Hannen said. It is made of numerous small, mobile silver and purple circles that catch the light.

But not all changes are as noticeable, Hannen said. In addition to redesigning the bottom floor’s information desk to mimic the first floor check-out counter, the team also implemented behind-the-scenes organizational changes and created an online order pickup station. These measures will increase efficiency for employees, Hannen said.

Since textbooks are increasingly in digital formats, Hannen said the team downsized the textbook section to make room for rows of shelves ready to be filled with online orders and graduation regalia. 

Though the store underwent extensive renovations, it’s not yet done. Next week the words “Purple Pride” and “Wildcats” will be painted in white on the first floor purple ceiling beams as a final touch.

“I’m looking forward to seeing students’ faces as some of the seniors will be coming in that probably haven’t been in the store in a while,” Hannen said.

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Twitter: @lindseybyman

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